A regular occurrence that we deal with here at the clinic is that of the little but highly annoying corns. But what exactly are corns?
Corns are small areas of thick skin often cone-like shaped caused by the build-up of hard, dead skin. Special skin cells found all over your outer layers of skin called keratinocytes produce this hard skin, which is your body’s attempt at protecting itself from friction or pressure. This extra skin can become an uncomfortable problem because the cone-shaped area transfers pressure to the skin underneath, causing discomfort. Corns are most commonly found on bony areas such as on the tops and sides of toe joints due to a lack of natural cushioning. Yet, corns can also be found on other areas of the foot such as the sole due to increased pressure occurring.
The most common cause of corns is that of shoes which do not fit correctly. If you have a corn, it is likely to be because of friction and pressure from footwear; whether it be from shoes too loose or too tight. Certain shoes such as high heels for example, place excessive pressure on an area of the foot and can squeeze the toes, thus potentially causing corns. We all have our favourite pair of shoes, high heels, trainers or sports boots; however, the emphasis on how important footwear which correctly fits can never be underestimated, not only for the prevention of corns, but for the health of your feet also. We see many patients of all ages who come into the clinic with footwear which doesn’t correctly fit, consequently leading to all sorts of aches and pains.
In addition, not only does incorrectly fitted footwear lead to corns but so does repetitive activities. Sports, running, climbing stairs, dancing or even work can also cause a corn due to increased and persistent pressure taking its toll on your feet. Moreover, some patients especially in the summer also develop corns due to not wearing any socks with shoes.
As aforementioned, the main prevention of corns is correctly fitted shoes. Nevertheless, there are other steps which can be taken to help prevention. Moisturising your feet regularly to keep skin soft and supple, rotating your shoes (e.g wearing trainers on commute to work before putting work shoes on) and just giving your feet a break from a certain pair of shoes are further ways to help prevent corns occurring. Corns should not be treated using medicated corn plasters especially by those who suffer with diabetes, have circulation problems or have fragile skin as they contain an acid which can damage the skin.
If you are in pain, seeing a podiatrist or a foot specialist will be the most effective way to treat your corns. A podiatrist will be able to cut away the corn, as well as provide specially made soft cushioning pads to relieve the pressure off the painful area of your foot. For something so small, corns can be an absolute pain and can get in the way of daily activities. Unfortunately, corns are very common however they’re also very treatable. Here at the Clinic, we have experts in getting rid of corns to help relieve the pain and pressure you may be experiencing. If you are unsure about whether you have a corn, need corn treatment or just want some shoe advice to help prevent corns from occurring; here at The Southdown Podiatry Clinic we are always here to help and make sure that they don’t get in the way of your daily life.