Corns are hardened calluses on the bottom of a foot that have thickened and hardened over time. They often feature a tender center surrounded by dead yellowish skin; they are tender to the touch, making it difficult to walk on them. Friction is the cause of the build-ups resulting in corns, and can result from poorly fitting shoes or toe deformities, which cause toes to rub consistently against shoes. Where the tops of toe joints press against the inside top of the shoes and rub against the shoes, soft corns sometimes form on the areas rubbing against the shoes.
Choices of Shoes and Corns
Tight-fitting shoes aren’t made to accommodate every type of foot. Particularly for a person with wide toe bones, a shoe with fashionably narrow toes can cram the toes too closely together, causing them to rub against one another and chafe against the shoe. Soft corns can develop in these areas resembling open sores. The same can be said of narrow high heels which squeeze a woman’s feet and shift her weight onto the balls and fronts of the feet, resulting in pressure and friction of the squashed toes against the shoes containing them.
Shoes that are too loose can cause just as much damage as shoes that are too tight, because the foot slides around within the shoe, and the friction and rubbing of the sliding motion can also result in corns. The best approach to preventing the formation of corns (or beginning to provide yourself with some relief if you already have them) is to choose shoes that fit properly and support your feet. Ensure that your feet don’t slide around within an oversize shoe, and conversely, that your toes aren’t unreasonably constricted in ways that would cause them to chafe against the shoe, or each other.
Relief for Corns
If you already suffer from corns, there are several ways you can provide relief for your suffering feet. If you haven’t already done so, you should switch to supportive shoes with enough room for your toes to avoid rubbing. You can apply cushioning between the toes to prevent further rubbing and cushion the existing corns. Soft lamb wool is ideal for this purpose (avoid cotton), and there are also a number of corn cushioning products available in the pharmaceutical aisles of any drug store. Some of the cushions specifically designed for corns feature a donut shape, which provides cushioning for the corn while avoiding putting pressure on the tender center, over which you place the “hole” of the donut shaped pad.
Among the drug store treatments for corns, you can find medicated corn pads which sometimes help to soften up the callus material so you can use a pumice to reduce the corn itself. Some people experience excessive irritation or reactions from the medication (which is a mild form of acid), so discontinue the use if it causes irritation, and revert to the non-medicated pads. You can also apply a pumice stone or callus file to the affected areas, and begin to reduce the callus build-up itself. Practiced over time, this can greatly reduce the problematic corns.