What is a Corn? How do I treat it?

We are asked almost daily ‘what is a corn’?

A corn is like a callus, and is made from compacted, hard skin. They form when an area of skin is subjected to repeated pressure, friction, and rotation stress.

You’ll often find corns on the top of toes, where shoes press, or under a prominent bone or joint under the foot – these are called ‘Hard Corns’

Corns can also be formed between toes when they are pressed together in footwear- these are called ‘Seed Corns’. These tend to be rubbery and whitish in appearance due to the amount of moisture that they hold.

Some small corns can also appear in clusters. This tends to be found in drier skin- these are also often called ‘Seed Corns’.

Unfortunately, a corn can be enough to ruin your day!

They can be extremely painful and prevent you from getting on with your day-to-day activities. A corn may be preventing you from enjoying your daily dog walk or stopping you from getting to the shops. They can also stop you from being able to wear your favourite shoes!

Stephanie Owen podiatrist

SO, how do you avoid getting corns?

You can avoid developing corns by:

1. Wearing shoes and socks that fit properly. To get the right fit why not get your feet measured and then choose shoes that aren’t too loose or too tight. Shoes with a fastening help keep your feet in place and stop you from moving around inside the footwear.
Good fitting trainers are great too for everyday use around the office or supermarket.

2. Keep your toenails short and in good shape so that they don’t press into your toes.

3. Using felt padding with certain pairs of shoes, can provide extra protection to problem areas. (We can show you how to do this at your next appointment)

4. Keeping the skin of your feet well moisturised helps to prevent the skin from getting thicker.

If you know us well you’ll know how much we love ‘Foot Mender’ cream. This is the best cream to use to prevent corns from becoming painful.

5. If you are developing painful callus and corns on the soles of your feet, you may benefit from a ‘Biomechanical Assessment’.

This is where we look at where the high pressures are and look at the mechanical causes of how they happen and create a pair of insoles that can fix or correct the causative factors.



Worcester Podiatrist, feet


It is important to ensure you are safe in how you approach treating a corn. We always advise that you avoid corn removal plasters; we have seen some terrible sights and people in lots of pain caused by Corn plasters.

These products contain salicylic acid and can be harmful to the healthy tissue surrounding the corn, they slip and slide and can make the corn much more painful.
You need to make sure the corn is in fact a corn, as they can often be mistaken for verrucas.

Worcester Podiatrist, feet




Our Top Tip is to know that a corn is more painful to press directly onto than if you pinch.

But if it’s not resolved and continues to give you a problem then it is best to see help from an HCPC registered Podiatrist.

Here are a few tips for treating a corn at home:

Use an emery board or foot file and gently buff the skin (in a circular motion) to reduce the bulk of overlying skin.
Apply a Urea based foot cream daily to help soften the skin and reduce the build-up of callus formation in the area.

It will help to wear ‘foot-shaped’ footwear- this will reduce the pressure on the toe area and provide a deeper and wider area for your toes to move freely and pain-free. Remember having a fastening on your footwear will prevent excessive foot gripping or friction thus reducing the shear friction that leads to corn formation.

If you struggle with corns on top or between toes then you can try gel-based toe shields or felt wedges to separate the toes and aid come cushioning. Remember that as we get older our skin is less elastic and it becomes drier and can lead to more foot problems.

How a Podiatrist can help treat corns

We will help identify what type of corn you have and explain why it happens for you (if it is a corn of course). Sometimes verruca’s get mistaken for corns!

We get asked often if the root can be removed – corns are not like tree’s, they don’t have roots.

Sharp debridement using a sterile scalpel by a podiatrist can totally ease the pain and discomfort nearly immediately. This is rarely permanent as the hormones in the skin have changed and so will want to continue to build up again. It is very important at this point to address the causes of the corn so you can follow a plan to help prevent it from coming back. Sometimes you need a few appointments to get you back on track and manage the situation.

Footcare Cream Worcester Podiatrist

The use of good quality foot creams can make all the difference. We recommend ‘Foot Mender’ to nearly everyone.

The reviews are amazing. Be sure to avoid creams between the toes though, as adding more moisture to a soft corn can make it more painful in the long run.
If you are unlucky enough to have corns between your toes a podiatrist can help you by making a customised toe orthotic to help separate and/or straighten the toe to prevent it from coming back.


Hard corns on the soles of your feet can really be helped by the use of insoles/orthotics that fit in your shoe. They change the pressure and stress on the metatarsal joint areas thus making the foot much more comfortable.

Corns can be very painful and make you feel miserable and stop you from doing the things you love.

Remember just because your Mother or Granny had corns, it doesn’t mean you need to have them too. Prevention is always better than cure and we have more options these days in helping you to walk pain-free.

If you’re experiencing foot pain and think you might have a corn – get in touch today and our experienced team of friendly podiatrists can help!