The most painful corns are between toes.
With soft corns between toes, there's no escape. They face pressure from two sides from squeezing tight footwear.
The good news is that soft corns, like all foot corns, respond great to changes you can make.
Shoes You Wear
To some people, Podiatrists are always blaming footwear for something!
But, narrow tight shoes are prime candidates for a lot of corns.
(Like the seed ones on the balls of your foot)
This is why women tend to have far more corns in-between their toes.
Raised heels force the front of the foot to contact the ground with more pressure. This is made worse by the squeezing effect of narrow, tapered shoes.
The Way You Walk
Gait is the word Podiatrists use for the way you walk; this can change for lots of reasons.
Arthritis, sports injuries, flexibility, weight gain...the list goes on and on.
An example of this would be if someone has a common condition called hallux limitus, or big toe arthritis.
This is where the big toe joint doesn't move freely upwards.
Because the movement of the big toe joint is restricted, the force of walking has to go somewhere.
In most cases, to the sole underneath.
People's toes sit in many different ways. Under, over, cocked-back or one longer than the other.
All these can change the way the foot and toes interact with the ground AND shoes.
It's very common to see people with little toes that sit under the next one end up with corns.
I often see people with hammer toes with corns on top as they rub against the shoes.
Will a foot corn go away on its own?
It's possible...but unlikely unless a person takes steps to reduce it.
This could be as simple as changing shoes or applying moisturizer.
But as a general rule, over time it gets more painful.
People will adapt to this in certain ways.
For example, someone with a painful corn on their sole will tilt their foot more. A person with corns on the balls of the toes will try and stay on their heel more etc.
This type of compensation isn't a bad thing but can be problematic long term. Increased use of one site on the foot can lead to its own problems.
How do I get rid of a corn on my foot?
You have two options for getting rid of a corn:
Curing Corns at Home: 3 Steps
First of all, is it possible?
It needs to be at early stages — before the ingrowing plug of skin becomes too big.
It also suits seed corns far better than hard to reach hard corns you may need a mirror to see.
There's no magic lotion or potion that can easily remove a ball of hard skin dug deep into someone's foot.
But, even if you can't remove it, softening, filing and padding can provide relief.
And this is best accomplished in the following three steps...
Step 1: Softening
The first step in home treating a corn is softening the toughened, thick skin. You can achieve this by enjoying a warm water foot bath which helps for filling later.
Fill a small foot bath with warm water (some people like to use salt.)
After a 10-minute soak, your corn will be much softer.
An alternative to a foot-bath is to apply a good foot cream. Simply place a healthy spot of cream on the corn and let it soak in for 10-15 mins.
Gehwol, CCS and Flexitol are all great choices of foot creams.
Step 2: File down
Once the corn is soft, it can be filed down. Use an emery board nail file, or good old pumice stone.
Some people find pumice stones are best for corns on the bottom of their feet or top/sides of toes. Usually, a nail file is best for soft corns between the toes.
Start off light. Aggressive filing can cause tiny cuts in your skin which can be a way in for bacteria and infection.
This isn't an overnight process in most cases.
Put enough effort in so that the area is smoother to touch. You shouldn't feel pain though a mild discomfort isn't unusual. After all you are removing skin.
Step 3: Apply corn pads, sleeves or spacers
Most corns get better from some type of padding. Covering and buffering them prevents painful rubbing and allows the skin to heal.
There are various options for this; and what you choose will depend mainly on where the corn is...
Corns on or between toes: benefit from sleeves made from gel materials or corn pads of various sizes. Gel spacers can often be helpful too.
Corns on the sole: assuming you can get to them, are usually best treated with corn plasters.
There are various sizes and if you're careful you can remove the top layer of padding if it feels too thick.
The best padding is the one you stick with, so experiment with one that's comfortable for you.
Beware of "medicated" corn pads...
Be careful if shopping for corn pads. Some contain an ingredient called salicylic acid.
I know studies say it's safe, but I've seen too many corns treated with this develop scar tissue.
It ends up looking a lot paler and actually harder to treat as the scar tissue is more sensitive.
If you do end up using them, be careful not to apply it for any extended period of time. I'd recommend alternating non-acid plasters with salicylic acid ones every few days.
Keeping a corn from coming back
Whether you've had success at home or not, I recommend trying the following small changes.
They can make a big difference in keeping a corn at bay.
Check your shoes: Changes in footwear can significantly reduce the pain experienced.
Experiment with more space, more padding or with running shoes.
Use a good foot cream: Applying a suitable moisturizer (one with urea) can help some corns a great deal.
Make a note of any other pains: The body will compensate for an injury and increase pressure in the area of the corn.
When you should visit a Podiatrist
See a reputable podiatrist if you have foot pain that's getting worse.
We're experts in:
When you choose a Podiatrist, make sure they are HCPC registered. This means they're qualified to banish this small but impactful problem for good.