Corns, what are they? Why do they occur? Johan explains...

As a podiatrists, corns are something we see and treat on a daily basis. We have fancy names for them; seed corns, heloma durum, heloma millare, heloma molle. They are all different types of corns, but essentially, they are all corns.


They can be extremely painful and if you’ve ever had one, you’ll know that they can really affect your daily life, activity and even mobility. So what are they? Well, it’s pretty simple really and here’s what happens. Callus often develops on bony areas, areas with a lot of friction or excessive load or pressure. Sometimes the fatty padding or cushioning underneath the foot becomes thinner and this also leads to excessive forces leading to the formation of callus. This then, often in combination with poorly fitted shoes, can cause hard skin to build up. Then, within the callused areas of highest pressure and friction, keratin cells are compressed even further to form a core. This hardened core is what is known as a corn. It applies pressure to the tissue below the skin and this is what causes pain.


We can treat them successfully by removing them with a scalpel or by drilling them out with a special burr. It is usually painless to remove them and the great thing about treatment is that relief is instant. Depending on where they are, we may do one of a variety of things in order to reduce the load to a specific area to prevent them from returning. For example, if they are in between your toes, we often make special custom moulded silicon devices to reduce friction and pressure. In other patients they could be situated on the sole of the foot where we may design special insoles to reduce pressure over certain areas. There are a whole host of tricks podiatrists have up their sleeves to combat combat corns.


It’s best to see a professional. We’d love to help. If you or anyone you know suffer from painful corns, contact us to make an appointment or check out our website for online bookings.