Corn

What are corns

A corn (clavus) is an often painful callus that grows conically inward. It occurs at places with much and frequent pressure and/or friction on the skin. This creates an excess of callus at a concentrated spot on your foot. Corns are commonly found on the sole, the top of the toes, the tip of your toes and between the toes. You can also find corns on the hand palms. A corn can be painful. It can feel as if there is a tack in your foot.

Description corns

We commonly refer to corn as callus pits and plantar warts. Their difference comes from their type of callus growth:

  • The callus pit is a corn that grows inward with a pointed tip of callus. In other words, the callus is pushed inside into a smaller area from the outside. This tip of callus can put pressure on nerves and blood vessels, creating a painful spot on your foot.
  • The plantar wart is a corn with a round disc of callus, usually found on the outside of the toes. The disc of callus presses on the skin, but there is no tip that grows inward.

The disc can cause just as much pain. Both types of corn are highly preventable by noticing friction early on and by wearing comfortable, properly fitting footwear.

A corn can be difficult to distinguish from a wart. Especially as the corn with pointed tip can sometimes feel soft. However, it is usually somewhat harder. The border between the plantar wart and ‘healthy’ skin is usually clear.
 

We distinguish between different types of corns

Regular corn (clavus)
A painful accumulation with a core that grows inward from the outer skin through pressure or friction.

Soft type (clavus interdigitalis)
Occurs between the toes. The skin often becomes weak and soft. In general, the soft type is white in colour and one of the more painful types, as it is continually under pressure. A soft corn is commonly caused by the positioning of the feet or toes in combination with wearing shoes that are too small.

Vascular type
Blood vessels grew into this corn. You can recognize this type by the dark spots in the callus pit. It cannot simply be excised during your pedicure or medical pedicure. Instead, it is commonly treated with a chemical wrapping.

Neurovascular corn
In this type, both blood vessels and nerves grew along the pit. As with the vascular variant, it cannot simply be excised during your pedicure or medical pedicure and is commonly treated with a chemical wrapping. A neurovascular corn is very painful.

Seed corn (heloma miliare)
Occurs without any pressure or friction. It resembles a small seed kernel and does not hurt. Seed corns often occur on a very dry skin. Multiple seed corns can be present on the soles of the foot.

Symptoms

A corn is also described as a glassy yellow spot with a dark colour in the middle or as a painful spot or lump under the foot. A corn has a wedge shape when it grows inward. There is a visible border between the corn and the normal skin. The spot is at most a few millimetres wide. A corn is not always visible from the outside. A corn can be painful and is most commonly found at one of the following locations: on the sole of the foot, the top of the toes, the tip of the toes and between the toes.
Corns generally feel hard. However, as mentioned above, soft corns also exist. This makes it harder to distinguish a corn from a foot wart. The difference between a corn and a wart is that a wart hurts when pressed sideways, while a corn hurts when pressed from above. In addition, corns on the sole give a different experience of pain when you wrap it. A corn causes pain while you stand, while a wart is painful when you push off. The shape of a wart looks more like a cauliflower, while a corn has a shiny callus structure. You can read more about warts in the topic: foot warts.
 

Causes

Corns can occur when your shoes are too tight, too pointed, if they have high heels or if they are the wrong size. These prevent your feet from taking on a natural position. This causes increased pressure on certain places of your feet, which promotes corn growth. The positioning of your feet and toes in combination with your shoes can also lead to pressure points. Your pedicurist or medical pedicurist can tell you more about which shoes are best suited for you.

Causes

Corns can occur when your shoes are too tight, too pointed, if they have high heels or if they are the wrong size. These prevent your feet from taking on a natural position. This causes increased pressure on certain places of your feet, which promotes corn growth. The positioning of your feet and toes in combination with your shoes can also lead to pressure points. Your pedicurist or medical pedicurist can tell you more about which shoes are best suited for you.

What you can do

You can often prevent a corn by noticing friction early on and by wearing footwear with the right size length and width.

Removing or treating a corn

A pedicurist or medical pedicurist can expertly remove the corn by treating it manually and with tools. This is called excising and milling way the callus pit. The corn will disappear immediately, and the pain with it. The pedicurist or medical pedicurist will inspect your feet to find the cause of the corn. He or she will advise you how to prevent corns in the future.
Do you have at-risk feet? Please make sure to schedule an appointment with a medical pedicurist for the treatment of your corn.

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