Corns (helomas) are thickened areas of skin that form in response to excessive pressure and friction. They form to protect the skin and the structure beneath it from damage.
Upon walking our body weight is distributed from the heel to the ball of the foot. When the pressure is intense, growths appear either as calluses or corns, dependant upon the amount of pressure.
This pressure is not necessarily caused by walking, it can occur through ill-fitting footwear.
Corns are usually hard and circular, with a translucent centre. They can become painful or ulcerated in response to the severity of pressure.
There are 5 different types of corn, however the two most common are hard corns (heloma durum) and soft corns (heloma molle).
These are usually about the size of a pea, and yellow in colour. They appear as a circular raised shiny patch of skin. They contain a nucleus (an inward-growing point) which can push against the underlying nerve ending thus causing sharp intense pain.
In many people the toes curl downwards and do not lie flat. Fitting curled toes into ill- fitting shoes is the most common cause of hard corns, usually on the 5th (small) toe however they can occur on the tops, sides or tips of any of the toes. They can also appear under the ball of the foot, which is another pressure point.
These are whitish in colour and have a rubber-like texture. They usually develop between the toes and are caused by the rubbing together of the bones in the toes.
Tiny corns that tend to occur on the bottom of the foot.
These usually start as a hard corn, however through inadequate self-treatment, nerve endings and blood vessels are pushed to the surface.
These will bleed profusely upon paring and can be extremely painful.
These arise from corns that have been present for a long period of time and appear to be deeper rooted to the underlying tissue.
Home remedies are available, either as corn plasters or liquid, however these usually contain salicylic acid, which if you are diabetic should not be used. Excision using a scalpel is the preferred treatment by registered Chiropodists, however this will not alleviate the causative factors, i.e. tight shoes.