Ah, seed corns, those picky little plugs of ingrown skin.
Now being a Podiatrist is never dull. One minute, I'm looking at fungal shellac nails.
The next I'm straining to see the evil sesame's aka seed corns.
Seed corns are caused by dry friction — and often appear as a cluster. They can be tough to tell from plantar warts.
Now for some, they're an occasional nuisance. But for others, seed corns equal a stab pain every step.
(Oh btw, they can also be the beginning of big, badder corns).
But now for the good news: compared to other corns, the seed variety are way easier to home cure.
This means with a bit of patience you can save a fortune going to see a podiatrist.
Seed Corn On Your Foot Symptoms
You're treading on nails when you place or your foot down. You may change the way you walk, just a little at first.
Soon, you avoid anywhere near the painful part. When you reach down, you feel dry, rough skin to touch.
What Are Foot Corns?
Hard, soft or seed, foot corns are all the same thing: husks of ingrown skin that push in.
Like a callus iceberg, the yellow you see is a hint of what lurks underneath. Every step you take drives them up into your foot nerves.
Now, the root causes of foot corns are pressure and friction. What happens is that your body throws down extra skin to protect pressure points.
Problem is, it does this a bit too well and the yellow callus starts to penetrate inwards.
Okay, so What Are Seed Corns?
Seed corns have some stand-out features (pun intended).
For a start, they're usually on your heel or sole. They're small and shallow (good thing), but often appear as a formation (bad thing).
They're very tied into foot callus. You know, that dry, yellow hard skin.
Seed corns aren't fussy about age, I remove them from 90 and 30-year old's alike.
What Causes Seed Corns?
Corns between toes are from shoes crushing in. Achey corns on your toes? They stem from your footwear pressing down.
But what about seed corns? Well, they derive from dry skin friction.
I treat seed corns more in the Summer. Why is this?
Answer: you wear less laces and more sandals. Your soles slide from side to side. What also happens in a hot parched environment? — you get thirsty yellow foot callous.
But there's other factors that make you more prone...
Five Things That Make Seed Corns Worse
1. A Thin Foot Pad
We all have a layer of natural padding on our feet. It's a mix of tendons, nerves and a fair bit of fat.
Seed corns are far more common in those of you with a thin foot fat pad.
This is because less cushioning means a higher amount of friction — that can't be absorbed.
2. You Have High-Arch Feet
High-arched foot shapes are more prone to seed corns. Your fatty foot padding pushes right up under the balls of your toes.
Lower down your foot now has an unequal amount, so it's common to see seed corns on the mid or heel part.
3. Your Shoes
It wouldn't be an article on corns without a mention of shoes!
Let's take our old friend, high heels.
The raised heel forces the balls of your toes into a smaller area. This causes a ton more pressure and friction than if the heel was in contact with the ground.
As mentioned, I pluck out more seed corns in the sun. In other words, flip-flops (thongs to Aussies), and sandals weather.
Without tight leather bolting the shoe to your foot, the sole slides and slips side ways. Aka friction.
4. Medical Conditions
Show me seed corns, and I'll usually show you someone with parched, dried-out skin.
Now there's a myriad of medical causes for this. Diabetes, hypothyroidism, psoriasis etc. etc.
But the good news is that you can always improve it.
5. How Much Exercise You Do
Foot skin callus afflicts those of you in the peak of physical condition.
You can be a super-athlete with the most hydrated feet in the world. And still get seed corns.
The wrong trainers, going barefoot or your poor feet adapting to the rich new demand.
Your runner's high says yes; the unforgiving asphalt says no.
Now some protective callus on your feet is a good thing. Too much and you get seed corns.
How To Get Rid Of Seed Corns at Home
The good thing about seed corns is they're shallow. This means they respond great to good ol' fashioned re-hydration.
This means they're by far the easiest foot corn to home cure.
After all multiple corn removal can get expensive.
Do the following once every few days at first, then every day as you get more comfortable.
Use The Right Foot Cream
The key here is choosing the right one.
It has to have urea as an active ingredient. Or you'll have shiny skin that's not actually refreshed.
I use Gehwol Fusskraft Blue or Mint. It's the best brand I've tried (and I've gone through almost all of them).
Apply when you can leave it settle in for ten minutes. After a shower or bath is the best.
Put it on and gently work it into the painful spot. That's literally all you have to do.
Sand Your Seed Corns
A paddle file is best for this.
You want something that allows you to apply the right force in the right direction.
(I use Gehwol Pedicure files because they also work on heels, toes and in the shower)
There's no need to go crazy, just aim to smooth out the seed corns on your foot. Get rid of any obvious picky bits or raised bumps.
Women (Have Worse Feet Than Men)
Yep, and it's all down to that 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).
Seed Corns On Your Foot? (How To Remove Them)
With a file 'n' cream combo, you should see an improvement within a week.
A lot of my patients clear seed corns up completely with this approach.
It may not solve them all, but take care of smaller ones. It can also make bigger seed corns far more forgiving when you're walking.