What are Seed Corns?
Although the exact cause of seed corns is unknown, they often develop when skin is dry. They can be found on the rim of feet, but generally tend to occur in the ball of the foot area or heel. Typically, they are not really painful, and may be more of a nuisance. If you have really dry feet, and small, tiny corns scattered around, then you probably have some seed corns. Often mistaken for plantar warts (fish eyes), they are generally more to the surface, which is an example of the difference.
To be more specific, a seed corn as the name implies, is a small, dry, stiff seed-like bump. Because dryness is a major contributory factor to its occurrence, some illnesses can increase the susceptibility to it, because they reduce the moisture within your feet. Diabetes is one such example.
When footwear doesn’t fit correctly, or when high-heeled shoes are worn, they apply pressure to certain areas of your foot. Shoes that are too loose-fitting may cause your feet to continually press against the shoe. In some cases, the line of stitching within the shoe may chafe your foot resulting in the formation of corns.
Your feet can be exposed to unnecessary friction if you fail to wear socks with shoes. Wearing socks or stockings that are too tight or otherwise don’t fit your feet may also lead to the corns.
Seed corns may develop from the pressure and weight caused by repetitive movements, such as walking on a sloping surface; standing or walking on a hard surface, such as concrete; for an extended period (worse if barefooted). Sometimes seed corns are because of imbalanced walking patterns. This may result in unevenly distributed pressure on the feet, which is referred to as gait or biomechanical abnormalities.
Foot deformities, such as bunions (an abnormal, bony bump that forms on the joint at the base of your big toe); hammertoes (the toe is bent at the middle joint, so that it resembles a hammer); and bone spurs (bony projections that develop along the edges of bones), may create continual rubbing in your shoe, and consequently, corns.
You may be advised to soak corns in warm water and file them down with a foot file. Over the counter salicylic acid products may also be recommended for treatment. Don’t however “dig out” the corn; seek professional care if the simple methods don’t work for you.
To treat seed corns, you treat the cause, and that is the dryness of the feet. Don’t use just any sort of cream; the good ones state ‘moisturising’, the best state ‘containing urea’. A great ingredient, urea is allows for softening and mild removal of dry skin. It is more expensive, but it is worth it.
The best way to apply moisturising cream is to use a little at a time but enough, twice daily. Do not use cream in between your toes as this can lead to athlete’s foot.
Two points to remember:
- If you suffer from diabetes, poor circulation, some illnesses and medication that reduce automatic sweating, then your skin is going to be dry anyway, so keeping on top of this problem is going to be your ultimate goal. It may seem like an uphill battle, but it needs to be done.
- If you have no illnesses and the cream is not working, change it. Go for a more concentrated variety, change brand, or change ingredient. Keep on swapping until you get it right. Too many patients have kept with the same cream for years only to find no effect. Also, never apply to open wounds, like cuts.
If you have gait or biomechanical abnormalities, you should get orthotics or arch supports to treat with these issues.
There is also the possibility that you do not have seed corns in the first place. See a Podiatrist/Chiropodist/Foot Health Practitioner just to be sure; and if you aren’t able to manage/treat them via home care, these previously mentioned professionals can.
Your feet mirror your general health . . . cherish them!