Our feet take the brunt of our existence. We are constantly walking on them, standing on them for hours, and shoving them into tight, pointy shoes. All that activity wears on our tootsies after awhile and sometimes we end up with painful marks, screaming at us to slow down, sit our butts on a chair, and elevate our legs.
One such inconvenience is the corn.
What are Corns on Toes?
We are all familiar with calluses. The dead skin builds up to form a firm barrier on our heels or sides of our feet and helps protect us from blisters. But, what are corns on toes? How are they different from calluses? What do they look like?
There certainly are similarities between the two ordeals. Both occur on the feet most often and are hardened by friction. The main differentiator is that corns are painful. Corns usually form on pressure points of the foot like the heel and side of the toes. There are three kinds:
- Hard corn. A patch of firm, dead skin cells surrounding a central core.
- Soft corn. Has a thinner top layer with less callus-like skin. Happens frequently between the fourth and fifth little toes.
- Seed corn. Tiny and discrete, seed corns prefer the bottom of the foot. The tender spots are believed to grow from clogged sweat ducts.
Visibly, corns and calluses are hard to differentiate from each other. Comparing pictures with your own feet can be helpful. Review the images in this gallery to tell the contrast.
What Causes Corns on Toes?
You don’t have to accept corns as a part of life. Most instances are preventable if you are packed with the knowledge of what causes corns on the toes. Here are the biggest offenders:
The wrong shoes. This is the number one instigator of foot problems. Shoes that are too small, in particular, can cause toes to rub together and develop a corn. The boney parts of the foot are most at risk.
Normal friction. If you have an over 10,000 step day (check your pedometer), and you are not used to it, the regular resistance between toes could produce a corn.
Arthritis. Inflammation in the foot joints can create bulbous pressure points ripe for building corns.
Bunions. An uncomfortable bony bump that spurs from the connecting joint of the big toe or on the outside edge of the pinky toe is prime real estate for corns and calluses. It can shift and deform the proper shape of the foot, making it harder to find properly fitting shoes that don’t rub.
Intense exercise. Marathon runners, for example, experience corns at an accelerated rate compared to the average active person.
How to Get Rid of Corns on Toes
Corns hold no threat to your health, but can significantly hurt. Instead of giving up walking, try these techniques from the American Academy of Dermatology on how to get rid of corns on toes fast:
Foot bath. Soak feet in warm water for approximately 10 or 15 minutes. However long it takes for skin to soften.
Scrub with a wet pumice stone. Moisturize the stone by dunking into the water first and then use gentle, circular motions to slough off the dead skin.
Dry off thoroughly.
Moisturize. Apply a lotion or cream with urea, salicylic acid, or ammonium lactate to keep skin soft and prevent the buildup of tissue in the future. Continue to apply daily.
Pad. Protect the affected area by adding cushion between your toes and your shoes. Moleskin is a great solution. Also, drugstores have oval-shaped adhesive padding designed specifically for corns.
Switch your shoes. If you have fingered the offending shoe, swap it out for something better suited.
Trim your toenails. Too-long nails can push against skin, forming corns with pressure.
How to Remove Corns on Toes Fast
The first step is to remove anything that is causing the spot in the first place. Corns will remedy themselves once the irritant is gone, but if you already sprouted one, here’s how to remove corns on toes fast:
A medicated pad. These donut-shaped cushions not only protect the area, but many have a medicated disc in the middle that dissolves the tough, callused skin. It’s a double-whammy and the fastest route to healing.
Amazon has compiled a list of the 100 top-selling products for this purpose. You can cruise pics and read reviews to find the best options for your specific situation.
Home Remedies for Corns on Toes
The only reason to visit a doctor for a corn is if it becomes red, hot, and visibly infected. A normal corn will not have redness or pus, so see a physician if your foot develops these symptoms. Until then, here are home remedies for corns on toes you can try:
- Vitamin E. This essential nutrient helps cell regeneration. Break open a capsule or use an infused oil. Apply before bed every night, cover with a cotton sock, and repeat until the corn disappears.
- Lemon. Cut a slice of lemon about an inch long. Secure with a bandage and cover with a breathable sock. Use overnight until the acid from the citrus dissolves the corn.
- Turmeric. In a bowl, mix together turmeric and honey to form a paste. Apply to the corn and let air dry until no longer sticky. Rinse off and continue the process every day until the corn begins to shrink to a manageable size. Turmeric is anti-inflammatory and honey is antimicrobial, so the pair is a powerhouse of DIY self-care.
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