How to deal with corns

Corns are very much a “shoe shape” issue, in that the vast majority are caused by ill-fitting shoes. Although corns are often associated with women, I expect to see more and more men in my clinic with corns, as the population ages, and then trend for very narrow shoes continues.

Corns can be divided into three types. Hard corns are found on bony prominences, especially the toes. It is here that the result of wearing pointed shoes, high heels and court shoes for extended periods of time can most clearly be seen. They are usually very painful.

Soft corns are only found between the toes. They are literally soft because of their location, but they can still be extremely painful.

Seed corns occur on the bottom of the foot, and there is no clear reason why they appear. They can become large and painful, and do have a tendency to reoccur, unlike soft and hard corns, which usually go once the cause is removed.

When I am asked how to deal with corns I always advise that the best way is to remove the cause completely. That means looking at your footwear and replacing it with shoes that fit better, and don’t cause undue pressure in those areas. Unfortunately shoe manufacturers produce according to demand, and so most shoes are made with quite a narrow toe.

Time and time again in my clinic I hear people defend their shoes because they are comfortable, but this does not mean that the shoes are not causing the damage. Our feet become used to being cramped into shoes and we might not feel any obvious discomfort, but they can still be causing the problem.

When people ask how to deal with corns, often they are not prepared to take the action required and change their shoes.

If people are not prepared to change their footwear they often try over the counter remedies such as corn plasters and shoe inserts. Shoe inserts are in my view a mistake, and can either aggravate the problem or create another elsewhere. If the shoes are already too tight, introducing something else will only reduce space further. You could find yourself with another corn.

A lot of women like corn plasters as they do seem to work, but they only work on a temporary basis, so if the cause is still present the corn will always come back. Personally I don’t like them as they seem to leave the area quite raw.

I have a lot of regular clients with corns, who don’t want to change their footwear and so come to me to have them removed. Filing down corns doesn’t work, because the nucleus of the corn, the part which causes the pain, is like a small ball-bearing of hard skin which is being pushed into the foot by pressure. Filing only removes the top of the hard skin and doesn’t get down to the nucleus. A skilled Foot Health Practitioner will remove all the hard skin and the nucleus of the corn, leaving the client pain free for many weeks. If the individual then changes their footwear the corn will not come back.

If you are in Bristol and need more information on how to deal with corns, or any other foot problem, call me on :

0117 950 6629 or 07811 619860

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