What Are Corns and How Do They Impact Your Foot Health?

 What Are Corns and How Do They Impact Your Foot Health?

Corns are small, thickened areas of skin on your feet that have a distinct, hard center. Corns can be extremely painful. They can also lead to other foot issues if you don’t treat them. For example, if you have diabetes, these small lesions can create significant problems, especially if you try to treat them yourself. 

At Intermountain Foot & Ankle Associates, podiatrist Kerry E. Berg, DPM, diagnoses and treats corns at our Colorado Springs, Colorado, office. Do you have a corn? If so, here’s what you should know about this small but painful foot problem.

Corns vs. calluses

Both corns and calluses are areas of thickened skin on your feet. They develop in response to friction or pressure as a way of protecting your foot. For instance, if you walk barefoot or dance on wooden floors without dance shoes, you could develop calluses or corns.

Most calluses form on bony areas of the foot that bear weight. They’re usually larger and more irregularly shaped than corns, which are small and round. Calluses aren’t often painful. In fact, they may protect your foot from feeling pain.

In contrast, corns typically develop on fleshy areas of your foot that don't bear weight. Unlike calluses, corns can cause pain. Corns often have a hard center surrounded by irritated or inflamed skin. The most common types of corns are:

Fortunately, if corns cause you pain, Dr. Berg can treat them.

Why you have corns

Corns usually develop in response to things that create friction on your feet, such as wearing tight shoes or high heels, not wearing socks, or wearing shoes or socks that don’t fit properly. However, footwear isn’t the only cause. 

People with corns often have other foot problems. These problems increase the friction on their toes and feet and lead to corns. Common conditions that cause corns include: 

Not only are corns unsightly, but they can also be incredibly tender or painful when pressed. They may also be a significant concern when you have certain health problems.

When your corn needs a specialist 

Dr. Berg recommends scheduling an appointment if you develop corns, especially if you have conditions that affect your ability to heal, such as poor circulation or diabetes. Without treatment, corns can grow larger or become infected, making them even more uncomfortable.

The most common signs of a corn include:

Corns are usually easy to treat. In fact, Dr. Berg usually begins by guiding you on how to reduce the friction or pressure in the affected area. That could include changing your shoes, adding custom orthotics, or padding the area so the corns can heal.

When painful corns persist, Dr. Berg trims them or removes them entirely. It’s essential not to try this at home, especially if you have a condition that interferes with healing, such as diabetes. 

Diabetes puts you at risk of wound complications and infection, even from seemingly minor problems, such as corns. Dr. Berg offers diabetic foot care services to protect your feet and reduce your chances of developing gangrene or undergoing amputation. While addressing your corns, Dr. Berg also offers treatment strategies for other foot issues.

Do you have corns? Call Intermountain Foot & Ankle Associates today, or use our easy online contact form.

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