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Corns on toes refer to hardened, thick layers of skin that form as a method of protecting the skin from damage by pressure and friction. In addition to the toes, corns may also occur on the hands, feet and fingers. Corns on toes can have an ugly appearance.

Individuals who are healthy require treatment for corns on toes, only if they result in discomfort. In some patients, the elimination of the cause of pressure or friction can result in disappearance of the corns on toes.

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However, people with diabetes or other such disorders that result in poor circulation of blood to the feet, are at increased vulnerability to developing complications of corns on toes. Hence, such individuals should consult a doctor for treatment of corns on toes.

Corns on Toes Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of corns on toes are as follows:

  • Presence of an elevated, hardened bump
  • Presence of a rough, thickened section of skin
  • Presence of dry, flaky, or waxy skin
  • Increased pain or tenderness below the affected skin

It may be noted that calluses and corns on toes are often confused with each other. However, they are different from each other.

  • Corns are smaller as compared to calluses. They have a tough center which is enclosed by inflamed skin. Corns have a tendency to occur on areas of the feet that do not carry weight, like the sides and tops of the toes. However, one may also notice them in weight-bearing regions. Corns may also occur between the toes. When pressed, they lead to pain.
  • Calluses generally occur on the feet soles, particularly below the balls or heels, or on the knees, or the palms. They rarely cause pain and differ in shape and size, but often tend to be bigger than corns on toes.

Causes of corns on toes

Repeated activities that result in fruition and pressure can result in the development and growth of corns on toes. A few causes of corns on toes are listed below:

  • Use of ill-fitting shoes: Shoes that come with high heels or are extremely tight cause compression of parts of the foot. When the shoes are very loose, then there may be repetitive rubbing and sliding of the foot against the shoe. Additionally, the foot may rub against a badly placed stitch or seam within the shoe.
  • Corns on toes may also develop due to repetitive pressure resulting from use of certain tools at work, in the garden or around the house
  • Omitting socks: When one wears sandals or shoes without socks, then it can result in friction of the feet. Ill-fitting socks can also pose problems and cause corns on toes

Some of the risk factors which increase the susceptibility to developing corns on toes are listed below:

  • The presence of a hammertoe, a bunion or other foot defects like a bone spur can result in continuous friction inside the shoe, increasing the risk to developing corns on toes
  • Inadequate protection of the feet when using various tools can expose the feet to increased rubbing, thereby elevating the risk to developing corns on toes

How to get rid of corns on toes ?

Treatment for corns on toes consists of keeping away from the repetitive activities which are the causative factors. Self-care measures such as use of protective pads, wearing of correctly fitting shoes, etc. can aid in the resolution of corns on toes.

Some of the treatment methods to be followed, in case of persistence of corns on toes or when they cause pain, are as follows:

  • A doctor can trim a big corn on the toe with a scalpel or peel off thickened skin. It is recommended to not trim a corn at home, as it can result in a wound and infection.
  • The doctor may prescribe topical antibiotics post trimming of corns on toes, so as to decrease the risk of infection
  • The health care provider may additionally apply a bandage with forty percent salicylic acid, which can be purchased over the counter. The doctor will provide instructions on the frequency of changing this bandage. Also, the use of a metal nail file or a pumice stone to get rid of the dead skin cells is recommended, before the application of a new bandage. Prescription topical salicylic acid may be used to treat large areas affected by corns on toes.
  • Individuals with a pre-existing foot defect may be recommended the use of custom-designed padded shoe inserts to prevent recurrent corns on toes
  • In rare cases, surgery may be required to correct the defective bone alignment causing the friction

One may follows the below listed self care measures to clear corns on toes. It may also be noted that diabetics and people with other conditions that cause poor blood circulation to the feet, have to consult a doctor for corn treatment, and not engage in self-help.

  • Use protective pads to cover the areas prone to corns on toes
  • Use a pumice stone to thin the thickened skin surfaces
  • Soften the corns on toes by soaking the feet in warm water, to facilitate easier removal.
  • Wear comfortable socks and shoes

Corns on toes pictures

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