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What Is A Corn?
A corn is an area of hard skin on the feet that forms from friction and pressure, normally caused by footwear or a deformity of the foot or toes.
The skin contains a substance called keratin whose job it is to thicken and harden the skin when it finds itself under prolonged pressure.
Generally corns can be distinguished from calluses by a sharp demarcation line between the centre called the nucleus and the surrounding skin.
You can find them under the nail, between the toes as soft corns, on the side or underneath of the foot and on top of the toe joints.
They can be found anywhere on the foot and can be very painful to walk on. This can cause the patient to walk differently than normal and which may lead to other by mechanical problems with their gait affecting the ankles and knees and hips and back.
- Toe deformity.
- Unsuitable footwear.
- Arthritis (deformity).
- Hammer toes.
- Fallen arches.
- Sweat gland disorders.
- Poor circulation.
There are several methods to removing a corn but the safest way is to visit a registered Chiropodist/Podiatrist who will debride the callous surrounding the corn and enucleate (remove) the nucleus.
Many patients who try to self treat a corn could end up in serious trouble. If they have a circulatory disorder, diabetes or are pregnant for example, and using caustic’s or un-sterile blades could prove disastrous.
Always seek medical advice before using medications such as silver nitrate and salacylic acid, of the kind found in corn plasters. They may be good at eating away at a corn but remember they can also attack healthy skin as well.
He is also important to diagnose a corn first. Many of my patients who believe they have a corn may have another underlying problem and many corns are misdiagnosed as Verucas.
Corn and Callus Removal
Once a corn is removed, you should try to use emollients is to restore elasticity to the area, especially if all of the nucleus has not been removed. It is also important to examine the reason for the corn in the first place. If it was caused by footwear then this should be addressed otherwise the corn will return again.
Types of Corn
- Heloma Durum – (hard corn) normally occurs over bony prominences.
- Laminated Corn – same as for Paloma Durham but loaded with congealed blood normally seen on the apex of the toe.
- Fibrous Corn – where fibrous elements have been incorporated into its structure causing chronic but mild inflammation.
- Vascular Corn – growth of one or more capillaries within the structure of the corn.
- Heloma Neuro – as per vascular, but has minute filaments in the cornious tissue.
- Heloma Milliaire – small granules or crystals of skin the size of millet seeds (seed corns) on the plantar (underside) of the foot.
- Heloma Molle – (soft corn) normally found between the toes it is soft due to the sweat prominent here.
It is essential to look at the reason for why your corn developed in the first place. Most often it is footwear related and you will need to adapt your shoe size and style accordingly. If it is due to deformity then it will be necessary to cushion and protect the area from further trauma.
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