Corns are small, rough mounds of firm, dead skin that form on or between the toes.

Their hard, waxy core, which bores down into the skin and press on the underlying tissue and nerves, can cause extreme pain. Corns are sometimes associated with bursae (fluid-filled sacs that cushion the juncture of two or more bones), which can become irritated, resulting in bursitis.

Corns are caused by a great deal of pressure or friction on the toes, usually from ill-fitting shoes or high heels. Since the skin acts as the body’s protector, corns form when the body attempts to protect the troubled area from more pressure by building up a mass of dead skin cells and secreting a hard substance called keratin. Persons who have abnormal bone structure in their feet or certain types of arthritis, tend to develop corns.

Corns are best treated by first eliminating the cause of the pressure. The first step is to wear comfortable and roomy shoes. Ill-fitting footwear often causes corns and calluses. It is best to wear shoes that do not cramp your toes.

Adjust your walking style also helps. An improper gait, such as walking on the sides of your feet, can produce calluses and corns. A properly designed orthotic greatly assists in allowing the foot to return to a more natural gait.

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