Definition of a corn . . . . ‘A circumscribed hypertrophy of the epidermis’
A corn is a cone shaped area of hard skin, caused by excessive and persistent mechanical stress e.g. shearing /friction, compression, and torsion. Corns occur in various areas of the foot where the skin is exposed to these stresses. Corns are not infective and therefore you cannot ‘catch’ corns.
The treatment of corns & callus represents the ‘bread & butter’ of our work and thus is one of the most common foot pathologies treated at our practice.
Treatment involves the removal of the corn with the use of a blade. Since corns are restricted to the outside layers of the skin this is quite painless and straightforward, and relief of symptoms is normally immediate.
Once a corn has been removed it will often recur every few weeks unless the predisposing pressure/stresses that cause it to form are eliminated (or at least reduced).
Generally, corns on non weight bearing areas are easier to prevent from constantly recurring since the excess stresses that cause them are easier to identify and thus eliminate, e.g. an ill-fitting shoe rubbing on top of a toe. However corns on weight bearing areas are often more difficult to prevent from reappearing since the stresses that cause them are not always obvious.
Corns on weight bearing areas are often larger than corns elsewhere and are described as feeling like a stone in your shoe. Corns are more prevalent in middle aged and older patients, and rarely affect children. Aged feet often have a reduced fibro-fatty pad in the deeper layers of the skin thus reducing natural cushioning. This is exaggerated in people with Rheumatoid Arthritis, particularly where oral steroids have been taken over a prolonged period of time.
a) Apical Corns