One of the most common know ailments of the feet. But did you know that corns come in five different types?

Hard Corns

The most common type of corn. These appear in areas of the feet where the skin has built up thicker to provide extra protection where pressure occurs on the feet. These include the heel and ball of the feet which take all the bodies weight when walking, but thicker skin may also be formed in other areas where pressure builds up, such as through the wearing of badly fitting shoes.

Hard corns appear as tiny or small areas of extra hard skin, within the surrounding area of thicker skin. They can sometimes cause the patient some pain, but in other cases may go unnoticed.

You may be able to get a little relief from a hard corn, by the use of a pumice stone, for example, to remove a little thickened skin at a time, from the area of the corn. If the corn is caused by badly fitting shoes, you should immediately start wearing only shoes that fit. However, actions such as these may relieve the symptoms, but they won't permanently cure the underlying problem.

There are corn treatments and corn plasters around for treating corns. However, I do not recommend these, as by their very nature, they have been designed to try and work on a wide range of patients, and are therefore not specific to you and your corn. Hence they tend to cause other problems by burning not only the corn, but also surrounding healthy tissue. I would always suggest you use such treatments only after getting advice on the correct procedure from your chiropodist. Or better still, let your chiropodist professionally treat and painlessly remove the corn for you.

Soft Corns

Another set of common corns. These appear in damp areas of the feet which is usually between the toes. Once again they are caused by pressure build up. They appear as a rubbery area of white tissue, and in some cases can cause discomfort.

Some relief may be obtained by use of small foam wedges between the toes to reduce the pressure. The actual treatment of soft corns is better left to a chiropodist, who will also be able to help with the problems leading up to the corn being formed, such as sweaty feet/toes and pressure build up in that area. Getting these problems fixed, will held avoid problems in the future. Other tips on looking after your feet can be found here.

Vascular Corns

These are often very painful for the patient, and if cut, they will bleed profusely. Fortunately, they are not so common.

You should never attempt to treat Vascular Corns yourself, and any action such as trying to cut out the corn yourself can even be dangerous. In every case, seek professional help from your chiropodist.

Seed Corns

These are tiny little corns that normally appear on the sole of the feet. They may appear singly, but often in groups. They don't normally cause the patient any pain.

As there is usually no pain associated with Seed Corns, it is not normally required to relieve painful symptoms. Use of the pumice stone as for Hard Corns may help to reduce the pressure causing them to appear, but for actual treatment, I would advise you to speak to your chiropodist. Due to the small size of these corns, I would advise against the use of commercially available corn treatments, which can do more damage to the healthy tissue surrounding such small corns, than the good they do towards curing the corns themselves.

Fibrous Corns

If a corn is left untreated for a long time and the pressure causing it is not removed, the corn can grow and bury itself deeper into the tissue of the foot. In doing so, it becomes more attached to the foot, and becomes more fibrous in nature, giving it its name. Fibrous Corns are mostly painful.

Some relief may be obtained as described above with the use of a pumice stone if the corn is in a hard skin area, or reducing the pressure causing the problem with foam wedges or correctly fitting shoes. But you are advised to seek professional help for the actual removal of the corn itself, as Fibrous Corns are not readily treatable by yourself, due to the deep growth of the corn.

General Assistance For Corns

The best way to deal with corns, is to stop them developing in the first place. As they appear in areas where there is constant pressure, avoid excessive pressure by the use of correctly fitting shoes. Where pressure builds up due to deformations in the foot, your chiropodist may be able to provide insoles or uniquely designed appliances to provide long-term relief. Foam wedges can be used to reduce pressure in areas such as the toes, as again can the wearing of correct shoes. Other tips on looking after your feet in general can be found here, all of which goes to the avoidance of corns.

Some tips on shoes can be found here.