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Corns are thick hard skin areas like callouses, but usually are more painful to walk on. They are thicker and have a more central point of pain. For people with diabetes if you have a corn and it’s not painful, you need to see doctor as soon as possible. Special care may be required to relieve the pressure on the skin. Corns can lead to ulcers if not managed well. Seek advice from a health worker if you see hard skin on your feet.

What is it? A defined thick hard plug of skin, often surrounded with callous.

Where is it found? Anywhere the skin is frequently rubbed or irritated. Most commonly found over bony prominences. When located on the sole or footprint surface of the foot, it is then called Plantar Corn. Can be found on the ball of the foot [over a prominent metatarsal head], under the big toe, or on the apex of the little toe [particularly a stiff and clawed toe].
Can be found on top of the foot, where toes rub against shoes
[particularly if the toes are clawed and stiff].
Can be found overlying scars when the scar is uneven and on a weight-
bearing surface.
Corns can be found between toes, these are called Soft Corns

What causes a corn? Excessive and frequent pressure and friction on skin.

How to look after corns.

  1. Apply moisturising cream regularly, to prevent the skin from becoming too dry and hard
  2. Careful and regular use of a pumice stone or sanding block to reduce the thickness of the corn
  3. See a podiatrist to have it carefully reduced with a scalpel, and obtain additional advice
  4. Obtain advice about footwear to cushion the feet and reduce the pressure causing the corns

What can happen if the callous is not looked after?

All callouses and corns add to the pressure and force exerted onto the skin – particularly if the corn is on a weight-bearing surface. The corn will usually cause more pain and discomfort than a callous. For people with diabetes, if they have peripheral neuropathy [numbness of their feet], the person might not experience this pain of discomfort.

The damage to the skin, from the pressure of the corn and walking, can cause the skin to become bruised and discoloured. Ultimately the skin can become ulcerated, if no action is taken. For this reason – all corns need care and attention.

If a corn becomes discoloured, bleeds or pusy – see a Health Worker or Health Clinic immediately.

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