The life of a Podiatrist isn't all glitz and glamor. It's not all wrecked shellac nails and Taylor Swift's bunions.
Foot corns are my bread and butter — and a huge source of bottom of foot pain.
Now, these pictures of corns are what I see every day.
I also get asked a ton: What does a corn look like after it's removed?
(You know when you take a stone out of your foot after hiking? Like that)
So to satisfy demand that I didn't know existed, here are some foot corn images.
I've also added some before and after pictures of corns on feet.
A big (and painful) hard corn with lots of overlying callus
I feel like I've finally been accepted. Well, sort of.
Last weekend, I walked through my kitchen and felt a sharp sting under the top portion of my left foot.
It didn't bother me a great deal — at first.
But, over the next day, whenever I walked up stairs, turned fast or put shoes on, it came back.
By the Monday I was actively rolling-up on the outside edge of my foot to walk.
Enough was enough.
Lo and Behold
Same corn as above (different angle) after removal
That night, under the dim light of my living room lamp, I crossed left leg over my right and inspected.
The first thing that struck me was how badly I need to take up Yoga. The second was "there it is!"
And there indeed, it was.
Embedded deep and barely visible: an obsidian-dark wood splinter.
In a way, I was kind of hoping it was a corn. Then, I'd be able to directly empathize with my patients.
One Man War on Foot Corns
But it still made me painfully aware how disruptive foot corns can be.
I was using the outer edge of my left foot to walk on (offloading). Every time I'd get to move, I'd get a split-second wave of apprehension.
In short, it sucked. Its forged even more my One Man War on Foot Corns.
Types of Corn
There's a few different types of corn: hard, soft, seed and smoker's. They're identifiable by sight and where they sit.
Even though they're all formed from pressure, each one is slightly different.
If you know what each type looks like, you have a head start to treat it.
(Foot corns aren't expensive to remove and sometimes they need a professional to do it!)
Pictures of Corns
Two hard corns and a soft corn between toes
Foot corns are hard skin nuggets caused by pressure. They're not contagious.
(Imagine an ingrown toenail — made of skin)
Some are obvious, while seed corns nearly need a magnifying glass.
Smokers get a certain type and ladies, I got some bad news for you: you get them more than men.
(You can blame your shoes!)
As you can tell from these pictures of corns, they look like a patch of yellow rough skin.
They also feel like one — until you stand up.
Foot Corn Pain
Corns are shaped like a pyramid. A cone of skin with a rounded top that pushes deep in your foot.
When you walk, you drive it in further.
At first, it only aches in certain shoes (or after a long day on your feet). You can tilt your foot one side to relieve the pressure.
Then, for a while, it goes away. "This is manageable!"
But soon enough, walking across your living room stings.
Your hips dip as you lean more, or stuff cotton wool between your toes.
So how did we get here? How did you even get one?
"How Have I Got a Foot Corn?"
(A small yet deep hard corn and a soft corn after removal)
If the right conditions are present, you'll get one.
And what exactly are these conditions?
Answer: tons of excess friction and pressure. Foot corns are a skin-defense reaction by your body.
As you can see from these pictures of corns, they're built-up on pressure points.
(Each step you take transfers three times your weight. And that's just walking)
Now, corns vary by where they are. So to help you, let's move on to types of corns on feet pictures.
(I'll start with hard corns as they're the most common)
Types of Corns on Feet Pictures
Pictures of Hard Corns on Feet
The classic hard corn is the most common subspecies.
If you look close at these hard corn pictures, you can see that they're a circular or oblong shape.
Above all other corns, they're caused by lots of pressure in one spot.
Hard corns have an inner core that's tougher (and often a different color) than the rest of it.
They're found on the heel, sole and sides of pinky toes.
And while we're on toes, let's start with the corn that only happens there...
Pictures of Soft Corns Between Toes
Soft corns between toes are the most agonizing.
(At it worst, think tooth-abscess level of pain).
They're formed from relentless rubbing between your foot digits.
This abrasion is magnified by a pack of four toes on one side. And tight shoe fabric the other.
Soft corns look like if athlete's foot bred with a blister.
This is because as the day goes on, your feet sweat 'n' swell. Soft corns pick up this moisture and turn white and rubbery.
Now soft corns sting a lot. Seed corns, however, are far gentler.
Pictures of Seed Corns on Feet
Seed corns sit on the balls of your toes and heels. Rather than a single site, these corns cluster.
As their name suggests, they're small and shallow. A lot of patients I see have no idea they've got seed corns.
(I think of them as an early-warning indicator of hard corns)
Seed corn stem from dry skin and side-to-side friction — think hot weather and loose sandals.
Now, seed corns are super common because they often don't hurt.
This is compared to smoker's corns which are rare and very much do.
Also known as neurovascular corns, I see these less and less as people puff vapes.
This type is different to other foot corns: hyper-sensitive, white around the edges and bleed easily.
When I carve them out, they're like rubber.
Smoker's corns come back fast and often need skilled, delicate scalpel work to remove.
Talking about removal, what do foot corns look like after they're out?
What Does a Corn Look Like After Removed?
A lot of people ask me: "what does a corn look like after its removed?"
The answer is like that ^^^
They look like the skin hollow you get if you've had a stone in your shoe for hours.
(Coming to think of it, they feel like one, too)
Corns don't bleed when I take them out. They may sting a little for an hour or two but this soon goes.
Before and After Pictures of Corns on Feet
I love taking corns out. To see someone walk out, after hobbling in, is amazing.
No matter how many times I see them up close, it still surprises me how much pain people tolerate.
These before and after pictures of corns on feet gives you some idea of how painful they can be!
Foot Corns Before Treatment...
Foot Corns After Treatment...
How To Home Cure a Corn on Your Foot
Ok, so we've seen the whole unappealing foot corn menu.
But, as different as they look, they've all got one thing in common: excess hard skin.
(And this what makes foot corns so painful).
Corns and callus form over your foot bones.
The funny thing is: these bones are small 'n' dainty. Like little chicken wishbones.
Put them on the ground with hard skin pressing up and it's a different story.
(A small hard corn before and after removal on the ball of this patient's 5th toe)
Every (and I mean every) single foot corn pictured above could have been avoided with early self-treatment.
The gnarliest, angriest hard corn in the world will ease up gnawing at your sole...
...if you use the right foot cream and scrape it.
Because all foot corns are is a hard, compact mass of skin.
If you soften and minimize them, they're not so much of a problem.
Stick to Basics
In an ideal world, your friendly local Podiatrist would remove your corn.
It would be painless, fast and cheap — and he'd bid you on your merry way.
As you're leaving, he'd tell you that if it comes back, he'll treat it for free.
Then you woke up and it was all just a dream.
So, to home treat your foot corn, do the following.
(Even if you can't DIY-banish altogether, you'll stall the pain)
Magic Cream - Use the RIGHT Foot Ointment
You need to really rub in the right ointment. Not just any old cream though — it HAS to contain urea.
Urea is a magic foot ingredient; you need to soak your painful foot corn with it.
Gehwol Fusskraft Blue or Mint are the best about.
Get a finger-top full, then massage it into your foot corn. It'll flex up the hard yellow center and ease that painful push down.
Do this at least twice a day after a shower or bath. Leave it soak in for a few minutes, unmolested.
Once you've softened the corn, turn your attention to the skin pyramid itself.
Remove as Much Corn as Possible
You're gunna file away as much overlying hard callus as possible.
Now, some like to use a pumice stone for this. I personally prefer a quality paddle file.
(It lets you use more force in the right direction)
My patients use them on other bits of hard skin on their heels and toes.
Either way, the above accomplishes two crucial goals:
First, it reduces the corn-skin mass growing. Then it allows the soothing urea-balm to work its magic.
"How Long Will it Take to Go?"
Most of you will feel relief in a few working days. But this can (of course) vary.
It's tough to give an exact timescale as there's a slew of factors involved.
For example, you may have a dusting of seed corns that a few days of Gehwol solves.
On the other hand (foot), you could possess a dug-in soft corn that's hard to get at.
Either way, I promise you won't make it worse doing the above!
Have I Got a Plantar Wart or Corn?
(The top half picture is a small corn, the bottom a plantar wart)
One of the big delay causers is when people think they have a plantar wart instead of a corn.
(I get a ton of emails about this)
A lot of the people don't know if they have a plantar wart or corn.
I can see why; they're similar in how they feel and look.
In particular with seed corns, which can look very similar to verrucas.
There's several different ways to differentiate. But the biggest is that warts have a cluster of tiny black spots. They're also far more common in young patients.
Confusion comes when there's skin callus on top of corns. This makes it difficult to see and feel.
But hey, at least a plantar wart and a corn are made of skin, unlike a Lister "corn"...
What About Lister Corns? (aka Accessory Toenails)
Lister corns look like a sixth little toe nail. In fact, they are.
(When they're very short, they look almost identical to tiny hard corns)
Unlike all the other types of foot corn, these perma-split little toenails are genetic. They're family inherited.
Most of you with Lister corns have little toes that rotate out. Add tight shoes which push in on the nail and they hurt.
Lister corns are best left to grow out then clipped short and straight with pointed nail nippers.
Women (Have Worse Feet Than Men)
Yep, and it's all down to those ballet-tight footwear.
Fashion is an integral part of your life. Society says so — like corsets.
But it's not only shoes and buying apparel online is a double-edged razor.
You can access stuff you'd never see down your McHigh Street for sweatshop prices.
Then it rocks up and looks (or fits) decidedly different from advertised.
If you've got Amazon Prime, use Try Before You Buy.
You can order six items (including shoes, kids and men's clothes) and cavort in front of a mirror trying them for 7 days. You only pay for what you decide to keep.
(Returns are free).
Hopefully these pictures of corns have helped you narrow down what you've got.
And remember, no matter the type, corns come from excess pressure. If you can take that away in the early stages, you can stop the pain.
They're made agony by that dry nugget of skin. Rehydrate and remove that and you'll walk without wincing, I promise.