Symptoms of Corns on Feet: Understanding and Treating This Common Foot Condition

Nov 11, 2023


When it comes to foot care, understanding the symptoms of corns on feet is essential. Corns are a common foot condition that can cause discomfort and pain. At The Foot Practice, we specialize in providing high-quality podiatry services in the field of health and medical care. In this article, we will delve into the symptoms, causes, and treatment options for corns on feet, helping you effectively manage this condition.

What Are Corns?

Corns, also known as helomas, are thickened areas of skin that develop in response to repetitive friction or pressure on the feet. They typically appear as small, round, or cone-shaped patches of hardened skin. Corns often occur on the tops or sides of the toes, between the toes, or on the soles of the feet.

Symptoms of Corns on Feet

To identify if you have corns on your feet, watch out for the following symptoms:

  • Pain: Corns can be painful, especially when pressure is applied or while walking.
  • Tenderness: The affected area may feel tender to the touch.
  • Discoloration: Corns may have a yellow, gray, or brownish color.
  • Hardened Skin: They usually have a thick and hardened texture compared to the surrounding skin.
  • Presence of a Core: Some corns have a central core, known as a "nucleus," which can cause additional discomfort.
  • Localized Thickening: Corns often result in a distinct localized thickening of the skin.

Causes of Corns on Feet

Corns develop due to repeated friction and pressure over time. Here are some common causes:

  1. Poorly Fitting Shoes: Wearing shoes that are too tight or shoes with high heels can increase the risk of corn formation.
  2. Abnormal Foot Structure: Certain foot deformities, such as hammertoes or bunions, can predispose individuals to corns.
  3. Excessive Walking or Running: Engaging in activities that put excessive stress on the feet can lead to the development of corns.
  4. Foot Deformities: Bone spurs, length discrepancies, or biomechanical abnormalities can cause corns to form.
  5. Thin Soles or Lack of Cushioning: Inadequate padding on the soles or wearing thin-soled shoes can increase the risk of friction and corn formation.

Treatment Options for Corns on Feet

At The Foot Practice, our experienced podiatrists provide personalized treatment options based on individual needs and the severity of the corns. Here are some common treatment strategies:

1. Footwear Modifications

Wearing properly fitting, supportive shoes with sufficient toe space can help alleviate pressure on the affected areas. Avoiding high heels and choosing shoes made of soft materials can also reduce friction.

2. Protective Padding

Using non-medicated pads or cushions can help relieve discomfort and prevent further irritation. These can be placed over the corn to protect it from rubbing against the shoes.

3. Corn-Removing Medications

Over-the-counter corn-removing medications containing salicylic acid or lactic acid can be applied topically to soften the corn and aid in its removal. It is important to follow the instructions carefully and seek professional advice if necessary.

4. Regular Trimming

Trimming the corn using a pumice stone or a nail file after soaking the feet in warm water can help reduce its size and alleviate discomfort. However, caution must be exercised to avoid over-trimming and causing additional damage to the healthy skin.

5. Surgical Intervention

In severe cases where conservative treatment methods fail to provide relief, surgical intervention may be considered. This typically involves the complete removal of the corn, along with addressing any underlying foot deformities contributing to its formation.

Prevention Tips

To prevent the development of corns on your feet, consider the following tips:

  • Wear properly fitting shoes that offer adequate toe space and cushioning.
  • Avoid wearing high heels or shoes that exert excessive pressure on your feet.
  • Maintain good foot hygiene by regularly washing and drying your feet.
  • Moisturize your feet to prevent dryness and cracking.
  • Use protective padding or silicone toe sleeves to minimize friction.
  • Seek professional advice if you have any underlying foot deformities or conditions.


Corns on the feet can be a troublesome condition, causing pain and discomfort. However, with proper understanding of the symptoms, causes, and treatment options, you can effectively manage and prevent corn formation. At The Foot Practice, our dedicated podiatrists specialize in the health and medical care of your feet, providing personalized treatment plans to help you find relief. Don't let corns keep you from experiencing the joy of pain-free feet. Take proactive steps today to prioritize your foot health!