CornsCorns and calluses, aside from the pain caused by having them, they are not a pretty sight to look at. Some women sadly due to embarrassment will avoid wearing particular shoes just to conceal the affected feet. This is not good when on holiday when sandals are not even considered for being packed into the suitcase.

Corns are a small area of thick skin, usually round in shape and press into the deeper layers of skin which makes them hurt more.

Is your problem actually a corn or callus or something caused by fungi

Hard corns tend to appear on the top of the smaller toes, or on the outer side of the little one. These are the areas where poorly fitted shoes, unfortunately, tend to rub most.

What is the difference between hard and soft corns? Soft corns more often than not form in-between the toes, most known between the fourth and fifth toe. It’s said this is down to sweat which keeps this area moist. Soft corns are prone to becoming infected. If infection occurs, antibiotics will likely be the treatment prescribed to sort out the problem.

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Not knowing the difference between a corn or callus can cause confusion which can lead to complications should the wrong treatments be used.

The callus is larger and broader with a less defined edge than a corn. Calluses tend to form on the underside of the foot. They are noted to form over the bony region just underneath the toes. Not normally a painful condition, nevertheless, over a period of time they can become very sore.

Small bones of the toes and feet are wider and lumpier close to the small joints of the toes. If extra rubbing or pressure on the skin overlying a small rough area of bone, this will cause thickening of the skin thus resulting in corns or calluses.

Poor-fitting shoes can cause corns on the top of the toes and side of the little toe. While walking and running are more directed to calluses. Painful corns are best treated under the supervision of a podiatrist (previously called chiropodist.)

What to expect with corn treatment

Thickened skin of a corn or callus will be pared down by a podiatrist using a scalpel blade. Any pain is reduced as the corn or callus is pared down and the pressure on the underlying tissues eased.

If after treatment and the skin starts to thicken again try rubbing down that area of skin with a pumice stone or emery paper once a week. Soak feet first in warm water for 20 minutes to soften the thick skin.

A moisturising cream used regularly on a pared corn or callus will keep the skin soft and easier to rub down.

Avoid using chemical based treatments (sometimes included in ‘Corn plasters’). Never attempt to burn thickened skin unless under guidance from a podiatrist.

Try footpads and toe protection for comfort.

If there is a sign of an abnormality then surgery may be the only option to repair any foot or toe damage. Most operations include being performed to straighten a deformed toe, or to cut out a piece of a bone that is sticking out from a toe. It may sound a little scary having surgery but there is no need to fear something that will put things right and take away your pain.