I love curing corns. It gives instant agony relief.
Someone who hobbled along 20 minutes ago — suddenly walks with a spring in their step.
But why are corns so painful?
I get asked this a lot, and I understand why.
Well, you requested, I delivered. Here's why corns hurt so much
(And what you can do about it)
Why Are Corns So Painful?
Up close, they look like a tiny nugget of hard skin.
(This gives us a clue why corns hurt so much)
Corns are painful for three main reasons:
Let's look at these in a bit more detail...
You know that dry, scuffy yellow skin you get on your heels?
Well, a corn is made from the same stuff. But it grows inwards, not on top.
But why does it do this?
Foot corns bury into your skin when the pressure on that area is too great.
For example: a corn on your pinky toe starts off as a small patch of skin callus.
You ignore it. You keep wearing the same shoes that rub and pressure it.
After a while, that callus can't add more layers on top. Skin here is too thin to support it.
But the pressure is still there.
Now at breaking point, it starts to form inwards.
Pushing Inward And Upward
Once the seal has broken your corn grows downward. This is why corns are so painful.
Don't forget: your foot is a minefield of nerves, tendons and blood vessels.
Millimeter by millimeter, the hard skin kernel assaults painful nerve endings.
It's something that shouldn't be there - like a stone - so your body reacts to it.
When you put clamping shoes on, this effect is magnified.
Shoes = Corns
Shoes cause a lot of corns on their own.
This is because with the exception of running trainers, almost all shoes are geared for a tight fit.
Soft corns are almost entirely caused by tight heels (as well as pinky toe corns).
Your footwear compresses and pushes the hard skin mass down.
What is The Most Painful Foot Corn?
Never mind why are corns so painful. What about which corns are the most painful?
Now I could cop out on this answer. I could opt for a mealy-mouthed "whatever one hurts you!"
(Tbf, there is an element of truth to that)
However, I won't. Some foot corns are much higher on the pain scale than others.
The worst, in my experience, are soft corns between toes. These are closely followed by pinky toe corns on top.
Seed corns tend to be most forgiving.
Other Common Foot Corn Questions...
Do Corns Bleed?
It's not common, but they can. This depends on:
Also, medications like aspirin and warfarin make you more prone to bleed.
(Smoker's corns bleed easier than other types, too)
Do Corns Have Roots?
No, but I can see the reason for confusion.
They have a distinct little kernel of keratin/hard skin. This is well bedded in.
Unless the corn is very shallow (seed corns), they don't tend to go of their own accord.
But what happens if you just ignore your painful foot corn?
What Happens If You Leave a Corn Untreated?
The longer it's untreated, the more painful it gets.
Your corn grows. It gets thicker and deeper.
You'll rely more on your "non-corn" side. This is known as offloading and signs of this include:
In other words, you'll put less weight on that foot.
Why Do Corns Keep Coming Back?
Because the area is still getting the pressure that made it in the first place.
This could be for several reasons, including:
Some people will continue to get a corn in one place no matter the treatment approach. It happens.
Can You Pull a Corn Out of Your Foot?
What if your corn is so painful, you're tempted to pull it out?
(I see this quite a lot, actually)
To completely uproot it would hurt so much you'd probably pass out from pain! Not recommended.
When I carve them out, we're using very precise instruments and the right angle.
Some people use corn plasters (not to be confused with corn pads).
While they can allow someone to "pull out" what remains of a corn, they also remove healthy skin.
Have I Got a Plantar Wart (or a Corn)?
Things to look out for are:
Small black dots are usually a sign of a plantar wart/verruca, but this can be tough the distinguish.
Some corns take on a darker appearance. This is usually where the hard skin underneath ends and blood vessels start.
How Do You Remove Corns at Home?
The trick to home curing corns is to catch (and treat them) as early as possible.
Before they grow deep.
Remember I said that corns are hard skin that grows inward?
Good foot cream softens callus and has the same effect on foot corns.
(I use Gehwol Fusskraft Blue or Mint)
Liberally apply it to the corn at least once a day. Let it really soak in.
It may not remove deep foot corn entirely, but will ease the pain.
Why Are Corns So Painful?
Why do foot corns hurt so much? Well, because they're ingrowing chunks of hard skin that attack the nerves in your foot.
They're made by the shoes that caused them in the first place.