DEFINITION: A corn is a corns hardening of the skin, particularly on the toes or areas of the foot, often resulting from friction and generally found on the top or soles of the feet. Corn types range from hard (tough, hardened calluses), soft (raised with sensitive skin), seed (hard and very sensitive, often found on the heel of the foot) and plantar calluses (often found on the sole).
SYMPTOMS: Because corns vary in size and type, symptoms range in sensitivity from toughness to tenderness and in color from paleness to reddened skin. If the skin of a callus is broken, it may release blood, a clear liquid or pus. Pus or clear liquid indicates a possible infection and requires immediate medical attention.
CAUSES: Corns are generally caused by shoes that do not fit well. Women are at the highest risk for corns due to high-heeled shoes, which raise the heel and place a great deal of pressure on the toes. Any ill-fitting shoe which causes repeated friction on a localized area of the foot may cause corns. Foot deformities or walking gait may also be a contributing factor.
TREATMENTS: Corns usually recede and eventually disappear when the source of friction is removed. A physician may trim a corn to reduce the area of pressure, for pads or shoe inserts and extreme cases may call for shoe inserts or surgery. Generally, however, having your feet professionally measured and purchasing shoes with a correct fit for both the length and width of your foot will help to prevent corns.