Corns, also called "clavus" by medical professionals, typically occur in areas that accumulate thick layers of dead skin due to pressure and friction. Corns most frequently appear on the toes, on hardened heels and on the balls of the feet following a callus. Corns are pea-sized in shape and white, gray or yellow in color. They can be tender and painful - especially when put under pressure.
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Corns can be hard or soft in nature. Hard corns generally build up on the tops of toes or on the side of the small toe from exterior friction. Soft corns look like open sores. These form between the toes when they rub against each other. Soft corns are kept moist by sweat that accumulates between the toes.
Uncomfortable or ill-fitting shoes are common, but not the exclusive cause of corns. Toe deformities like hammer toes (when a middle toe is bent at the middle joint, resembling a hammer) and claw toes (when a toe hooks down into the sole of your shoe causing rubbing) can cause corns as well.
If you suffer from corns, you can perform the following self-treatment at home:
- Soak your feet with warm water every night before bed. Once corns are softened, use a callus file to reduce the size.
- Wear a donut-shaped foam pad to cover the corn, so that the corn is protected.
- If possible, apply a little piece of lamb's wool between your toes to prevent the skin's further contact with corns.
- Most importantly, wear comfortable shoes that provide enough room for your toes to move around.