Corns are formations of skin that develop to protect the underlying structures of the foot. They most commonly form on the toes or the sides of the feet. Two types, hard corns and soft corns, exist.
Hard corns are often caused by poorly fitting shoes, or occasionally by structural malformations of the foot. Soft corns occur between the toes and are the result of the fourth or fifth toe bones, phalanges, being too wide. There are different ways to remove the different types of corns.
Hard corns are generally easier to treat. To remove corns of this nature, doctors suggest switching to wider, more comfortable shoes which do not apply pressure to the corn. Adding pads made of lamb’s wool can also help to remove corns. In some cases, a podiatrist can remove corns by cutting them out or burning them off with acid preparations.
Physicians may also opt for surgery to remove corns by correcting malformations of the toes. Toes that do not bend well, sometimes called hammertoes, can cause corns to form. Surgery can correct this condition and cause less corns to form in the future.
Over the counter medications can occasionally remove corns. One can purchase corn pads with a preparation of salicylic acid, which gradually remove corns over several days. Herbal recommendations to remove corns include applying licorice, green figs, lemon, or papaya to the affected area to gradually melt corns. Using ice may also help to remove corns.
Those with soft corns may find some benefit in switching to wider shoes, as well. Generally, though, a podiatrist must remove corns through surgery. In such cases, the surgeon scrapes off some of the widened bone of the fourth and fifth phalanges to increase the width between the toes. Though this surgery sounds dramatic, it usually takes place in an office and requires only a few stitches after the procedure. Recovery afterwards is often uncomplicated.
Those with diabetes have an increased risk of infection in the feet. Before trying any of the above remedies to remove corns, diabetics should consult their doctor. Simple infections can easily turn gangrenous, and some preparations to remove corns may actually do more harm than good. Those who have either suppressed autoimmune systems or diabetes should report any foot problems to a doctor.
For others, corns can be painful, but unless one has soft corns, experiments with a few home remedies to remove corns are certainly worth trying. Should corns persist, even with over the counter treatment, those afflicted should see their doctor to determine the best way to remove corns.