A corn (also known as a “heloma”) is a small circular area of thickened, hardened skin, usually found on the non-weight bearing, bonier parts of the foot where the skin is thinner – like the toes. They are formed as part of the skin’s natural defence against excessive rubbing and friction. The thickening of the skin forms a protective cushion to prevent pain and blisters. Corns can be hard or soft. They are very similar to calluses and are formed by the same processes and causes.
Corns are normal and usually do not cause problems. However, when they get too big, they may become painful and make walking difficult.
Corns are most frequently caused by shoes that don’t fit properly: Ill-fitting shoes put excessive pressure and force on certain parts of the foot, particularly on bony prominences.
A corn is smaller than a callus, more circular shaped and has concentrated thickening in its center (calluses tend to be larger, are irregular-shaped, and the hardened skin is distributed evenly throughout). Corns also form more often on non-weight bearing parts of the foot, whereas calluses usually occur on the weight-bearing underside of the foot.
A corn looks and feels like a small, circular area of hardened skin with a dense, thick center (called the “core’). This core is usually surrounded by inflamed skin. Corns usually develop on or in between the toes. There are three types of corn:
Corns may not be very painful when they first develop; however if they get larger, they can cause problems. Signs that a corn may require a foot specialist’s attention are:
Corns form on our toes and feet from the friction generated by the rubbing action between our feet and the inside of our shoes. This is part of our skin’s natural defence mechanism to protect itself against blisters and pain. Repeated or prolonged friction causes the outer layer of skin to thicken. This provides extra cushioning for the skin so that it can withstand the friction and pressure to which it is exposed.
Problematic corns and complications can be caused or contributed by:
Corns sometimes go away on their own without medical intervention. However, if you have diabetes or any other condition that causes poor circulation in your feet, you should promptly consult a chiropodist to avoid complications. You can also see a foot specialist if your corn is causing you pain, irritation and discomfort, or affecting your ability to carry out daily activities.
A licensed chiropodist will safely remove your corns using a variety of treatments. Read about our callus and corn removal services for more information. Note: corns often reoccur, and therefore routine treatments every few months are often required.
If you have recurrent corns, shoe inserts or custom orthotics may be indicated. These will address any biomechanical abnormalities affecting your gait that may be contributing to the formation of the corns on your feet. Our chiropodists can also recommend corn pads, spacers and other foot aids to reduce pressure points on the feet.
Never try to cut or shave away your corn with a sharp object.
Our Toronto foot clinic is open Monday-Friday from 9 am-6 pm, Saturdays from 9 am-4 pm and Sundays from 10 am to 4 pm. You do not need a referral to become a patient at our foot clinic.
Certain risk factors may increase your chances of developing corns:
To prevent or reduce your susceptibility to developing corns, you can:
Our Toronto foot clinic is open Monday-Friday from 9 am-6 pm, Saturdays from 9 am-4 pm and Sundays from 10 am to 4 pm. You do not need a referral to become a patient at our Toronto foot clinic.
Our simple to use, online booking process makes it easy to book an appointment with a chiropodist for any of our services. No referral needed!
Emily is the newest addition to the Feet First family. She assists with the clinic’s accounting and finances, as well as all the behind-the-scenes work that keeps the clinic running smoothly. In addition to her accounting smarts, she brings sunshine and positivity to everyone at Feet First Clinic.
Part of our administrative support staff, Erica also works behind the scenes writing and editing content for our website and blog. She loves researching and writing educational content to help patients and anyone dealing with pain. When she’s not busy in the clinic, you’ll find her at her local gym, exploring underground music, hiking with friends, or cheering on her favourite sports teams (Go Jays!). She also loves huskies!
Day in and out, Bianca works hard to ensure Feet First Clinic runs smoothly. Customer service is at the top of her list and she treats every customer like family. Bianca has a passion for fitness and is dedicated to helping people take care of their feet and body. There is no problem that she can’t solve and she believes that where there is a will, there’s a way.
If you’ve been to the clinic before, chances are you had the pleasure of meeting Carolina! Carolina’s daily goal is going above and beyond to make sure patients are always completely satisfied. Having worked in the podiatry industry for 22 years, Carolina brings a wealth of knowledge pertaining to client service, insurance policies, and procedures. She steers the ship to make sure everything runs smoothly on the daily. Carolina is known for spicing up every outfit with her signature costume jewellery.