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Corns are calluses that form on the toes because of bones that push up against shoes and build up pressure on the skin. The surface layer of the skin thickens, irritating the tissues underneath. Hard corns are usually located on the top of the toe or on the side of the small toe. They can also form on the ends of the toes. Soft corns resemble open sores and develop between the toes as they rub against each other. Usually, soft corns occur between the fourth and fifth toes.

Improperly fitting shoes are a leading cause of corns. If your shoes are too narrow, they can put excessive pressure on the toes. In addition, women's dress shoes, especially dress shoes with high heels. High heels put added stress on the forefoot, and tend to squish toes together. This can lead to both soft or hard corns. Toe deformities, such as hammertoe or claw toe, also can lead to corns. Such deformities make the toes more prominent, and shoes will exert more pressure on such a toe. Self-care for corns includes soaking feet regularly and using a pumice stone or callus file to reduce the size of the corn. Special over-the-counter, non-medicated, donut-shaped foam pads can be worn to help relieve the pressure and discomfort. For large or lasting corns, please contact our office. We can shave off the corns using a scalpel. For patients with severe corns caused by toe deformities, surgery to straighten the toe(s) may be the best answer to eliminate to corns for good.