Corn - Western SummaryWestern Medicine Summary

Western Medicine

Western Summary

Corns are common with estimates ranging from 18% to as much as 58% of the population having had corns.[1,2]

Symptoms

Corns are thickened and hardened areas of skin that develop due to repeated friction and pressure. Corns typically occur on the feet and toes and can become very painful. In some cases, this pain can alter the way that people walk and can lead to knee and hip pain. 

 

Causes

Corns develop from constant pressure and friction. The skin reacts by thickening and hardening. Normally there is a layer of dead skin (known as the stratum corneum) that acts as a protective layer on the skin. In corns, there is typically a slightly clear bump that forms in the center of the thickened areas that can become a source of pain. Calluses do not have this central bump whereas corns do. This makes it more uncomfortable to walk on these pressure points, leading to pain and discomfort. 

Treatments

Salicylic acid: Salicylic acid preparations over-the-counter can help to thin the thickened area.

  • Sharp debridement: A qualified health professional can use a sharp blade to carefully remove the dead thickened skin and the central bump in a corn. This procedure should only be performed by a qualified health professional.  
  • Electrosurgery: A qualified health professional can use an electric tip to carefully destroy the central bump in a corn. This procedure should only be performed by a qualified health professional.
  • Pads: Soft cushioning over the pressure points on a foot can be helpful to reduce the pressure and friction that lead to the formation of a corn. This can be obtained over-the-counter or may be available through a qualified healthcare professional.

1.    Dunn JE, Link CL, Felson DT, et al. Prevalence of foot and ankle conditions in a multiethnic community sample of older adults. Am J Epidemiol.2004;159(5):491-498; PMID: 14977645.

 

2.    Springett KP, Whiting MF, Marriott C. Epidemiology of plantar forefoot corns and callus, and the influence of dominant side. The Foot.2003;13(1):5-9.