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"What is a corn on the foot?" is a common question. It is usually followed by "How is a corn diferrent than a callus?"
Both corns and calluses are dead skin that have become thick from rubbing or direct pressure. The source is often a prominent bone or ill-fitting footwear.
As we age, deformities (like a bunion and hammertoe) and loss of natural cushioning can make bones protrude more. However, corns and calluses also occur in children and young adults but are usually less painful.
Unlike a callus which is wide, a corn is deep and often feels like a pebble imbedded in the skin. Typically calluses occur on the bottom of the foot, whereas corns are around toes.
When painful, corns and calluses need to be scraped off by a podiatrist (foot doctor). The procedure is painless because the skin is already dead.
Applying a moisturizer will help soften the skin but not prevent or cure this problem. Protective pads or soft insoles may reduce the likelihood of recurrence.Over-the-counter "medicated corn pads" usually contain an acid that can damage the surrounding healthy skin.
In people with poor circulation (vascular insufficiency), numbness (neuropathy), and who are immunocompromised, corns and calluses may lead to a break in the skin or infections. These individuals should never attempt to treat their own corns or calluses.
X-ray evaluation, injection or surgery may be necessary in cases that do not respond to conservative treatment.
Skokie Foot & Ankle Specialists, Ltd.
9933 Lawler Ave., Suite 315
Skokie, Illinois 60077