Have you ever forced yourself to wear a pair of shoes because you liked them, even though they were really uncomfortable or even painful to wear?
After wearing them for a time, you might notice small, hard bumps of skin forming between your toes, at the bottom of your feet, or even on the joint of your pinky toe. These are referred to as foot corns because of the yellowish color of these nubs.
Why Do I Have Foot Corns?
When you wear shoes that don’t fit well or lack proper padding, your feet get exposed to a lot of friction, either from the shoe material or from rubbing against each other.
The skin in the affected areas thickens and hardens as a protective response to the friction, which leads to the development of corns. Unlike calluses, hard corns are concentrated in small areas with a distinct center and usually have a yellowish appearance.
There is also a soft type of foot corn that looks greyish and feels rubbery.
Having corns will not affect your health but they can cause pain or discomfort. They can also give feet an unsightly appearance, which can make you feel conscious about wearing sandals and other open-design footwear.
There are specialized services for corn removal, but in some cases, you may be able to treat foot corns with home remedies.
Try these 5 S’s to see if you can resolve corns on your own.
Switch to Better Shoes
It’s always best to first address the culprit.
Foot corns and other foot-related problems are usually caused by shoes that don’t fit well.
They may be too tight, lack proper padding, or have design features like straps that rub against the foot. Replace them with a pair that matches your size and provides proper arch support.
You may also choose a design with a soft lining to minimize the effects of friction.
Some brands specialize in crafting orthopedic shoes, which may be a worthwhile investment if foot corns are a recurrent problem. Alternatively, you may use orthopedic shoe inserts and corn pads to help shoes fit more comfortably.
Fun tip! Whenever you purchase shoes, make sure to shop in the late afternoon or early evening. Your feet will be a bit swollen from the day’s activities by this time, so your new pair should fit well even if you’ve been wearing them all day.
Another way to reduce the friction between your foot and your shoe is to simply wear socks.
They function as a protective layer and provide a bit of added cushioning for your soles as well.
Do make sure to wear the right size of socks and that they are in good condition. Replace socks when they get holes or become threadbare.
Soak in Warm Water
When your feet are sore and tired, putting them in a bath of warm water brings almost instant relief.
The warmth itself is very soothing and can help improve circulation in your extremities.
Let your feet soak for 10 to 15 minutes as this also helps to soften the skin and prepare it for the next step of the home treatment process. You can also enhance the experience by adding Epsom salts or essential oils to your foot bath.
Scrape the Excess Skin
Once the skin has softened, use a pumice stone or a foot brush to gently exfoliate areas with skin buildup.
Even if the skin feels thick and tough, apply care when you scrub so as not to contribute to further irritation or accidentally wound yourself.
You can also try using a foot file or emery board but avoid sharp tools that cut away the skin.
Most pharmacies offer over-the-counter (OTC) medication for treating foot corn.
These are usually topical solutions that contain salicylic acid, which helps skin remove the dead layers by hastening cell turnover.
It is best to first consult a physician before trying this treatment and to use it exactly as directed since high concentrations of salicylic acid can cause skin irritations or even chemical burns. If you have diabetes or sensitive skin, however, salicylic acid should only be administered by your doctor.
If All Else Fails
Home remedies can help treat foot corns while some simply go away on their own, but if your problem is persistent or recurring, seek professional assistance from a doctor. They should be able to provide proper treatment as well as help you find long-term solutions.
They may fit you with custom orthopedic devices to prevent corns from forming or need to employ surgical interventions if the corns are too large or too close to a nerve.
Foot corns are fairly common, and while they can sometimes be painful, they are often resolved as soon as you start wearing more comfortable footwear.
Most people can also safely remove them using home remedies but a medical consult is your best bet for foot corn prevention and treatment of more serious cases.
Monica Mendoza is a content writer and marketing professional based in Manila, Philippines. She spends a lot of time studying how to transform lifestyles and communities. Outside the office, she keeps herself busy by staying up-to-date with the latest fashion trends and reading about the latest news.