When you think of the word “corn,” you might imagine long green stalks, bright yellow kernels, or even a white, fluffy snack at the movie theater. While “corn” is most certainly a favorite food, this term also refers to an irritating and sometimes painful condition that commonly affects the feet. Most people don’t know about this or the many other issues that relate to their podiatric health. Austin foot doctor, Jeffery LaMour, and our team have made it our mission to educate our patients about disorders like these so they can prevent, identify, and treat them. You probably spend a good portion of your day on your feet, so it’s a good idea to learn how to protect your foot health. In this week’s blog, we explain the basics of corns.
Now that we’ve got your attention with this mysterious podiatric predicament, you’re probably wondering what exactly corns are. Basically, these are tiny sections of tightly packed dead skin that create bumps on the side and upper portions of your feet. Mayo Clinic explains that these “thick, hardened layers of skin…develop when your skin tries to protect itself against friction and pressure.” Despite your body’s best efforts to safeguard your skin, corns can actually cause swelling and discomfort. They can also be unsightly and embarrassing depending on their size and visibility.
Corns Versus Calluses
If you think corns sound a lot like calluses, you’re absolutely correct! These two conditions share a lot in common. Many classify corns as a specific type of callus. As Web MD notes, “corns and calluses are often confused with one another,” but they have a few key dissimilarities. Generally, corns are different from calluses in that they:
- Are smaller. They typically take up much less surface area than calluses.
- Typically appear only on the feet (although they can, in some cases, develop elsewhere). Of course, you can also get calluses on your feet, but calluses “usually develop on the soles of your feet,” where you put the most weight, according to Mayo Clinic. In contrast, corns “tend to develop on parts of your feet that don’t bear weight.”
- Hurt. Calluses might reduce the sensitivity of your skin, but they usually don’t cause any discomfort. If you press on a corn or move such that your weight is on that part of your foot, it might feel sore or sharp.
- Have a different texture. Mayo Clinic explains: “corns…have a hard center surrounded by inflamed skin.” This kernel-like shape most likely gave “corns” their plant-like name.
These distinctive characteristics should help you differentiate corns from calluses so you can tell exactly what’s bothering your feet and receive accurate assistance.
Types of Corns
Corns come in several shapes and sizes. Web MD writes: “a hard corn [has] a central core,” giving it a denser, more bulbous appearance, while a “soft corn has a much thinner surface and usually occurs between the 4th and 5th toes,” looking more like a mini callus. Perhaps the most problematic of all types are “seed corns,” which are “tiny, discrete [calluses]” that “tend to occur on the bottom of the feet.” Their placement makes them much more likely to get pressed and become painful.
How Your Austin Foot Doctor Can Help
In most cases, corns won’t require any treatment. They should go away on their own. In the meantime, wearing soft socks and comfortable shoes can help cushion your corns. You should see Dr. LaMour if pain from corns interrupts your daily life, becomes persistent, or is accompanied by excessive swelling in the area that doesn’t go down quickly. If you have poor circulation or suffer from diabetes, it is especially important to seek professional help. With an advanced suite of services, we can help you find the right treatment.
Do You Suffer From Corns?
Dr. LaMour and our team can help you with this condition and many others. Contact us today to learn more about our practice and schedule an appointment. We look forward to hearing from you!