A corn is a hard area of dead skin that develops in areas of intense friction, often from shoes that don't fit properly or as a result of a hammertoe or other abnormality in the shape of the foot. As the friction against the skin surface continues, the body reacts by forming a hard layer of skin to serve as a type of protection. Corns can be very painful, usually occurring on the tops of toes or between toes or on the bottom of the foot. Unlike a callus, a corn has a central “core” portion that usually appears lighter and is much more painful than the surrounding cornified tissue.
Mild corns may be relieved by wearing shoes that fit properly, reducing painful friction. Recurrent corns often can be treated with the use of custom orthotics that relieve pressure and provide optimal support. Special padding may also be used to relieve friction. Usually, the hardened tissue comprising the corn is removed using special techniques to preserve surrounding healthy tissue. In very few cases when conservative approaches are not enough to provide long-term relief of symptoms or when corns interfere with mobility, surgery may be needed to correct an underlying anatomical problem.
Although there are plenty of “do-it-yourself” corn removal products on the market, using any corn removal product without medical supervision can result in damage to the surrounding skin. Patients should never cut away corns or abrade them with harsh tools since these can significantly increase the risk of infection and additional damage that may exacerbate symptoms and make medical treatment more difficult.
If corns are caused by high heels or other shoes that crowd the toes, opting for better-fitting shoes may help. Often, corns occur as a result of an inherited foot shape and require custom orthotics to help relieve pressure points while providing optimal support. While over-the-counter inserts and pads are available, custom orthotics crafted to suit the individual's foot shape are far more effective and longer-lasting.
At The Center for Foot Disorders, we accept most major insurance plans. Here is a short-list of just some of the most popular plans we accept. Please contact our office if you do not see your insurance provider listed.
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