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A large pain in the CORN

Updated on February 25, 2010

So small but so sore

Corns are often very small but are very very irritating little things that last a long time and difficult to get rid of.  They can interfere with daily activities in ways that you just couldn't imagine unless you have suffered from one yourself. 

Corns can appear on many areas of the body but in this hub we will stick to corns of the feet and toes.

For runners these corns can be a nightmare and for people with diabetes they can cause all types of undesirable problems. Corns if not treated properly can actually be the initial cause of an amputation and should therefore never be overlooked or simplified.

Corns are caused when a bone in the toe rubs against the ground, the shoe or another toe.

Corns can form as soft corns between the toes or as hard corns mainly over the joints on the top or sides of the little toe.

By going to a chiropodist or foot specialist you can have the corn trimmed or shaved which gives relief from the pressure pain. However, should the corn develop a little hole somewhere, mostly in the centre be aware. There could be an ulcer forming underneath which can very quickly become infected. The toe will become very red, swollen and extremely painful in most cases.

If you suffer from diabetic neuropathy you may not feel this pain and so it is very important that you inspect your feet daily for any such problem.

What causes the ulcer?

When a bone constantly rubs against a shoe or hard surface the skin reacts in a way to protect itself. The skin starts to thicken and over time becomes hard. This is then referred to as a corn. This isn't always painful at this stage and few people bother to do anything about them.

Over time the corn gets bigger and bigger and when it does hurt it has no mercy, putting on shoes can be a real event. Even socks can weigh down like a ton of bricks.


If the area under the corn becomes inflamed the area around the bone becomes painful, this is also known as periostitis.



Corns are usually caused by a toe bone pushing skin up against the shoe. Treatment , then, is directed to the shoe, skin or bone.

1. Shoe modifications can help. But if the corn is large and infected this can be difficult to achieve. This means getting wider shoes, shoes with taller toe boxes, softer shoes, no shoes or sandals. However, most people with corns do not want to expose them they would rather fix the problem in another way.

2. Treat the skin by reducing the corn, you can do this with a pumice stone or other device but be careful to make sure the surroundings are clean and the stone is thoroughly washed first. The other option is to go to a foot therapist. Yiou can find special creams in the chemist which help to dissolve corns which contain acids. However these should never be used by people with diabetes, poor circulation or no feeling in the toes.

3. Surgery on the bone. This involves shaving a small surface of the bone underneath the hardened skin. It requires a local anaesthetic and should be performed by an orthopedic or foot specialist.

4. If your corn becomes infected you should visit your doctor immediately for the proper help and possible antibiotic treatment. Trying to treat this yourself could lead to further problems which, for some , can take a very long time to heal. In the elderly and diabetics i have encountered patients with so called hard to heal chronic wounds. These are very unpleasant and the patient is always at risk of the infection spreading. So early intervention and protective treatment is always recommended.


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    • VivienneG profile image


      8 years ago from Florida

      Very informative! Wearing the wrong shoes is the number 1 foot killer.

    • frogyfish profile image


      8 years ago from Central United States of America

      I once worked for a podiatrist and learned much of what you described above - right on advice!

      Your title was intriguing. I must find out more about you - enjoyed your profile notes - so am now becoming a fan!


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