We’re all in love with “good looking . . . stylish shoes” . . . However, the question is . . . are they in love with our feet? The answer to that question can easily roll off our tongues, yet we wear the shoes and suffer the consequences later.
After the fact, many clients grudgingly admit “it was rubbing you know, but the shoe was so nice . . . and the colour was matching the outfit so perfectly, I really couldn’t help myself!” Not so perfect later on, when in some cases, pain rears its ugly face!
Corns and their Causes
A corn is a very common ailment that usually forms on the tops, sides, tips, and even between the toes. It is a small, rough mound of firm, dead skin that forms. It can become inflamed, red and painful, when it presses on sensitive nerves in the surrounding skin, and is usually due to constant friction and pressure from ill-fitting footwear 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, while secreting a hard substance called keratin.
Some other common causes of corn development are:
the foot sliding forward in a shoe that fits too loosely
stockings or socks that fit tightly
persons with abnormal bone structures in their feet
individuals with certain types of arthritis.
Corns located between the toes are called soft corns, and result from bony prominences. They become soft due to perspiration in the forefoot area.
Persons Most at Risk
Corns are often seen in athletes, and in patient populations exposed to uneven friction from footwear or gait abnormalities. These groupings include the elderly, diabetics, amputees, and employees who have to wear safety boots. Abnormal foot mechanics, foot deformities, high activity level, and more serious conditions such as peripheral neuropathy also contribute to those at greater risk.
Amongst elderly populations, both men and women have been reported to wear shoes too narrow for their feet. Women have been reported to wear shoes that are also shorter than their feet. Both narrow and short footwear can lead to the development of corns, in addition to foot deformities.
Complications and Treatments
If proper treatment isn’t administered – infections, ulcers and fluid-filled sacs beneath the corn can develop. To eliminate the friction and pressures associated with the development of the corns, the following are recommended:
Use of padding such as caps, sleeves to prevent pressure.
Use of corn products with salicylic acid. These include drops, applicators, pads and plasters. The treatments will turn the top of the skin white and allow you to trim or peel away dead tissue, making the corn protrude and hurt less. If you are diabetic, have frail skin, or circulation problems, please seek professional help.
Avoid high-heeled or tight-fitting shoes. When shopping, stay away from shoes which don’t compliment your feet. Those which are wide on the toe end but not too loose are best.
Get fitted for arch supports or orthotics if the corns are related to toe deformities; they help your weight to be redistributed. In turn, it would stop the pressure on the toes.
- Organise to have therapeutic pedicure treatments done. We offer advice on how to care for your feet on an ongoing basis, so that you may eventually be able to expose your feet with pride once more!
- Rule of thumb, when over the counter methods fail, it’s time to check your foot care specialist or doctor. Don’t be a self-appointed podiatrist, chiropodist, or foot health specialist!
A final appeal to our diabetics and caregivers for the elderly, don’t take the corns for granted; get expert help where needed to avoid possible regrets. You owe it to yourselves, or your affected loved ones!
Your feet mirror your general health . . . cherish them!