Corns strike everybody’s feet at some point in time. They are small areas of hardened skin occurring on the toes when the feet are exposed to excessive pinching and pressure from their shoes. Corns may be hard or soft, and they have varying levels of pain and discomfort. This article explores what causes corns, how they develop over time and how they can be prevented.
The difference between hard and soft corns
Hard and soft corns differ from each other in texture and also in the areas of the feet where they appear. Hard corns normally appear on the tops, tips and sides of the toes. They have a central core that presses on the nerve endings, and this causes pain. Meanwhile, soft corns occur between the toes, and are they remain soft because they are exposed to heat and moisture in this area of the skin. They are also quite painful.
How corns are caused
Though there are many reasons why corns develop on the feet, the most common reason is ill-fitting shoes. Not just tight shoes, but even those that are loose can cause the problem as they allow the foot to slide back and forth and cause friction by rubbing. Meanwhile, tight shoes put excess pressure on the toes, especially high-heeled shoes that squeeze the toes.
Long periods of walking or standing, or repeated motions of feet usage (such as in sports) can also give your feet corns.
However, they are likely to occur more in older people as aging skin tends to become thinner, so it offers less padding to the feet. Corns also occur more on bony feet, for lack of natural cushioning by the muscles and bones.
At other times, corns may be symptomatic of another kind of foot problem. For instance, they can occur as an offshoot of bunions (a deformity that causes the big toe to bend towards the second toe) , or hammer toe (in which the central part of the toe lifts up).
How can corns be prevented?
Since footwear causes the problem in most cases, corns can be prevented by wearing comfortable shoes that fit properly. It is always advisable to shop for shoes in the afternoon, because the feet tend to swell and grow in size as the day progresses. So buying shoes that fit this foot size is the right size. The right shoe will allow your toes to wiggle inside the shoe without being too wiggly and loose. Avoid high heels as much as possible because they exert unnecessary pressure on the front of the foot.
Also ensure that your feet are completely dry before you wear your shoes. Wet or moist skin increases friction when you wear the shoes. Any slight rubbing or pressure will encourage the growth of corns. When your feet are dry and clean, you can apply a skin moisturiser to them which can remove hard skin. We recommend a massage with the cream so that it is fully absorbed into the skin.
Also, you can use a foot file to remove the hard skin on or around the corn. Be gentle and don’t hurt your feet.