A corn is thickening of skin in the toe area, usually associated with an underlying bony prominence or bone spur. A corn forms when there is friction and pressure applied to the skin over a prominent bone. Corns can also form over a hammertoe, which is a deformity that develops when the toe is actually bent at its joint level.
To prevent corns, one should wear shoes that provide enough room in the front for the toes to move freely. Opentoed shoes may also be of benefit. One should avoid high-heeled type of shoes, as these tend to place a great deal of pressure on the toes of the feet.
Treatment for this condition involves using protective pads, wearing shoes with a wider toe box, or surgical removal of the offending underlying bone spur. Corn pads with acid medication should absolutely be avoided, as they not only remove the irritated skin, but cause severe inflammation of the surrounding skin. Many times this leads to infection and ulceration of the skin directly over the bone.
When surgery is indicate, this can often be done in the podiatrist’s office under a local anesthetic. Walking can be resumed immediately after surgery. Many patients who were previously unable to wear shoes comfortably are able to resume normal activities without pain.
Pre-surgery photo of hammer toe repairs on the 4th and 5th toes.
3 months post-surgery photo of hammer toe repairs on the 4th and 5th hammer toes.