What Does A Corn Look Like After Removed

Footwear that is too short or too tight or that exerts friction at specific points is also a common cause of skin thickening that leads to corns and calluses. Source: Getty Images

How To Remove A Corn

How To Remove A Corn yourself: Recommendations

  • You can try to remove small, flat corns yourself. If this does not succeed or if the corn keeps coming back (recurrence), the doctor must be consulted.
  • You should always consult a specialist if you want to remove large corns or corns that go deep into the skin.
  • Diabetics, rheumatism patients and people with extremely sensitive or porous skin should generally consult a doctor for any foot problems.

Often patients want to remove their corn with knives or other objects. This is very dangerous, as the surrounding skin is easily injured. Furthermore, a cracked, incised corn is a potential entry point for germs and bacteria. This can lead to serious infections. The pathogen can spread under the skin or enter the blood and cause blood poisoning (sepsis). People with very dry and brittle skin such as rheumatism and diabetes patients are particularly at risk here. They should therefore always consult a doctor to have any corn removed.

Remove corns with corn plaster

First take a warm foot bath to soften the skin in the area of the chicken eye. Then apply a corn plaster for two to three days before taking another softening foot bath. Then you can try to carefully lift out the corn.

Corn plasters are available over the counter in pharmacies. They are impregnated with so-called keratolytics – acids such as salicylic acid or lactic acid, which soften the cornea of the chicken eye. In this way the upper horny layers on the corn can be removed. Often, however, the keratin nucleus is already so deep that the chemicals cannot reach it. Then a specialist must remove the corn.

Caution: The acids of corn plasters are very aggressive. When a corn plaster slips and the acids no longer get onto the corn but onto the surrounding healthy and above all much thinner skin, injuries and infections often occur.

Corn removal with liquid corn products

Instead of a corn plaster, you can sometimes use a liquid corn plaster from the pharmacy to remove a corn. Cream first the skin around the corn with Vaseline to cover it and protect it from the harsh agent. Then apply the product directly to the corn and cover it with a plaster or pressure protection plaster. The whole thing is repeated daily. As with corn plaster, you should take a softening foot bath after two to three days and then carefully lift out the corn. In some cases it may be necessary to repeat the application.

Household remedy against corns

Often people with a corn eye look for home remedies that help them to eliminate the foot problem in a simple and gentle way. Some examples:

  • You can enrich the footbath with curd soap or tea tree oil, for example; this helps soften the skin.
  • Propolis tincture can be applied to the corn and left to work for several hours. Afterwards the horny skin is soft and can be easily removed.
  • Another home recipe prescribes crushing five aspirin tablets in a mortar, mixing them with half a teaspoon of lemon juice and a teaspoon of water and rubbing them on the corn. The foot is then wrapped in a warm towel. Leave the whole thing to take effect for a quarter of an hour. Even after that the skin over the corn is swollen. This makes it easier to remove the corn.

The important thing with all home remedies is that they can only be effective for small corns. If you remove a corn by yourself, also take care that no open wound develops, as it can easily become inflamed.

Remove corn from the specialist

If you want to remove a corn permanently, you have to go to a specialist. Doctors, orthopaedists or medical chiropodists (podiatrists) can remove a corn quickly and almost painlessly.

The earlier professional treatment is started, the less complicated and faster it is. You should therefore consult a doctor immediately as soon as you discover the corn! If you delay going to the specialist and continue to subject the corn to pressure and friction, the core will drill deeper and deeper into the skin.

During the examination the doctor will decide how to remove the corn according to the depth and shape of the corn. Sometimes a single appointment is sufficient, in other cases the corn treatment extends over several appointments.

First, a ten to twenty minute foot bath in hot water is applied to soften the cornea. The doctor then carefully removes the superfluous corneal layers using a suitable instrument (such as a milling cutter or scalpel). To remove the keratin thorn, some hydrogen peroxide is sprayed on, which also penetrates into deeper skin layers and softens them. The corneal core is then removed with a scalpel, gouge or forceps. This treatment is usually painless.

After corn treatment

After corn removal, the affected area should be protected from pressure and friction. For this purpose foam rings (corn rings) can be placed over the affected area. Foam inserts for the shoes or soft socks also provide pressure relief.

To avoid a recurring cornification (relapse), you must first of all remove the cause of your corn. If too tight or uncomfortable shoes are the reason, you should change your footwear. For foot malpositions such as hallux valgus or hammer toes, orthopaedic insoles, orthopaedic shoes or other orthopaedic aids (orthoses) can help to protect the affected areas. Let the orthopaedic surgeon advise you on this.

Patients with very rough and cracked skin should always pay attention to careful foot care. Regular washing and creaming can prevent excessive strain and avoid corns!

Removing corn: Operation

In some cases an operation is necessary to remove a corn. This is the case, for example, if the corneal cone is particularly deep or the cornea is very wide.

A surgical intervention can also be useful in case of a foot or toe malposition. Otherwise the corn will keep coming back.

Risks in corn removal

If specialists remove the corn and the patient follows their instructions (e.g. for aftercare), there are usually no complications.

Risks arise above all when you want to remove a corn yourself. If skin injuries occur, infections and even blood poisoning (sepsis) can result. You can also slip off with a knife or scalpel and cause a deep wound.

The use of corn plasters and liquid corn preparations also carries risks, as mentioned above.

In rare cases, the alleged cornification is actually a wart or the symptom of another skin disease. Therefore, to be on the safe side, always consult a doctor before you remove a corn yourself!

About this text

This text complies with the requirements of medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been reviewed by medical experts.

ICD codes are internationally valid codes for medical diagnoses. They can be found, for example, in doctor’s letters or on certificates of incapacity to work.

Sources

  • Engelhardt encyclopedia orthopedics and accident surgery, Springer publishing house: www.lexikon-orthopaedie.com (call: 24.02.2020)
  • Bittig, F.: Image Atlas of Medical Pedicure, Hippocrates Verlag, 2010
  • Wolansky, R.: Disease Patterns in Podiatry: Anatomy, Imaging Diagnostics, Therapy, Hippocrates Verlag,, 2006
  • Niethard, F.U.: Dual Series Orthopaedics and Trauma Surgery, Georg Thieme Verlag, 2009
  • Breusch, S.: Clinic guide orthopaedics accident surgery, Urban & Fischer Verlag, 2013
  • Niethard, F.U.: Orthopaedics compact, Georg Thieme Verlag, 2005
  • Umbach, W.: Cosmetics and Hygiene, John Wiley & Sons, 2012

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Corns and Calluses

A person checks their toes for corns and calluses.

Corns are, like calluses, areas of thickened skin, medically known as hyperkeratosis. Corns typically occur on the feet and occasionally on the fingers. It’s possible to prevent corns and calluses by reducing or eliminating the conditions, such as poorly fitting footwear, that lead to increased pressure at specific points on the feet.

Signs and symptoms of corns include a

  • thick, rough area of skin with a hardened, raised bump;
  • tenderness or pain under the skin; and
  • flaky, dry, or waxy skin.

Examples of corns and calluses on the feet and hand.

Corns and calluses occur on parts of the feet and sometimes the fingers. Source: “Corns” by Marionette / iStock

What are corns and calluses?

Corns and calluses are annoying and potentially painful conditions that form thickened areas in the skin in areas of excessive pressure. The medical term for the thickened skin that forms corns and calluses is hyperkeratosis (plural=hyperkeratoses). A callus refers to a more diffuse, flattened area of thick skin, while a corn is a thick, localized area that usually has a popular, conical, or circular shape. Corns, also known as helomas or clavi, sometimes have a dry, waxy, or translucent appearance. A callus is also known as a tyloma.

Corns and calluses occur on parts of the feet and sometimes the fingers. Corns are often painful, even when they are small. Common locations for corns are

  • on the bottom of the foot (sole or plantar surface), over the metatarsal arch (the “ball” of the foot);
  • on the outside of the fifth (small or “pinky”) toe, where it rubs against the shoe;
  • between the fourth and fifth toes. Unlike other corns that are firm and flesh-colored, corns between the toes are often whitish and messy; this is sometimes called a “soft corn” (heloma molle), in contrast to the more common “hard corn” (heloma durum) found in other locations.

A woman wears shoes with a very high heel, which can cause corns and calluses.

Footwear that is too short or too tight or that exerts friction at specific points is also a common cause of skin thickening that leads to corns and calluses. Source: Getty Images

What causes corns and calluses to develop? On feet, On finger

Hyperkeratosis simply means the thickening of the skin. This thickening occurs as a natural defense mechanism that strengthens the skin in areas of friction or excessive pressure. Abnormal anatomy of the feet, including foot deformities such as hammertoe or other toe deformities, can lead to corn or callus formation, as can bony prominences in the feet. Footwear that is too short or too tight or that exerts friction at specific points is also a common cause of skin thickening that leads to corns and calluses. Abnormalities in gait or movement that result in increased pressure on specific areas can also be the cause.

It can be hard to know why finger corns develop since they often don’t appear at sites of obvious pressure or rubbing. Finger calluses may develop in response to using tools, playing musical instruments such as the guitar, or using work equipment that exerts pressure at specific sites.

A man has severe calluses on his hands.

People of all ages can be affected but they are particularly common in people over 65 years of age. Source: Getty Images

What are risk factors for corns and calluses?

As mentioned above, any condition or activity that results in increased friction over the fingers or toes can lead to the development of corns or calluses. People of all ages can be affected but they are particularly common in people over 65 years of age. Corns and calluses have been shown to affect 20%-65% of people in this age range. Some of these risk factors are:

  • abnormalities in the anatomy of the feet or toes;
  • abnormalities in gait;
  • bunions;
  • poorly fitting shoes;
  • using equipment, tools, or instruments that exert pressure on specific locations on the fingers; and
  • certain occupations, such as farmers or garden workers.

What Does A Corn Look Like After Removed

QUESTION

A woman has dry, hardened skin on her heels.

A woman has dry, hardened skin on her heels. Source: Getty Images

What are symptoms and signs of corns and calluses?

Corns and calluses are:

  • hardened, thick areas of skin;
  • rounded or conical and may appear as a bump on the skin;
  • dry, scaly, or flaky; and
  • painful, leading to foot pain if they interfere with walking or other activity.

Calluses are typically painless.

How do healthcare professionals diagnose corns and calluses?

The diagnosis can be made by observing the characteristic changes in the skin. Specialized tests are not necessary.

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A person applies over-the-counter wart medications to treat corns and calluses.

Corns and calluses can be treated with many types of medicated products to chemically pare down the thickened, dead skin. Source: Getty Images

What are treatments for corns and calluses? Are there home remedies for corns and calluses?

Corns and calluses can be treated with many types of medicated products to chemically pare down the thickened, dead skin. Many products are available for use as home remedies. These products all share the same active acid, the ingredient used in over-the-counter wart-removal products.

Salicylic acid is keratolytic, which means it dissolves the protein (keratin) that makes up most of both the corn and the thick layer of dead skin which often tops it. Used as indicated in the package directions, these products are gentle and safe for most people. Salicylic-acid treatments are available in different forms including:

  • applicators,
  • drops,
  • pads,
  • plasters.

All of these treatments will turn the top of the skin white and allow the dead tissue to be trimmed or peeled away, making the corn protrude and hurt less.

It generally is recommended that salicylic acid not be used by people with diabetes or when there is frail skin or poor circulation (because of concern about how the skin can heal). In these situations, the application of salicylic acid can potentially lead to ulcer formation on the skin. A health care professional can help determine whether salicylic acid-based products are safe for use on a particular individual.

Do not attempt to cut or shave away corns and calluses at home. This can lead to potentially dangerous infections of the surrounding tissues. This should be performed by a podiatrist or other health care professional.

A health care professional may also prescribe antibiotics for any corns or calluses that have become infected.

What Does A Corn Look Like After Removed

SLIDESHOW

A podiatrist uses a scalpel to remove hardened skin from the foot of a patient.

A podiatrist uses a scalpel to remove hardened skin from the foot of a patient. Source: Getty Images

When should someone seek professional treatment for corns or calluses?

If the corn is bothersome and doesn’t respond to salicylic acid and trimming, consider seeing a doctor or podiatrist who can physically pare corns with scalpels. Podiatrists also can measure and fit people with orthotic devices to redistribute their weight on their feet while they walk so that pressure from the foot bones doesn’t focus on their corns. (Off-the-shelf cushioned insoles are one size fits all and may not be effective.)

People with fragile skin or poor circulation in the feet (including many people with conditions like diabetes or peripheral arterial disease) should consult their health care professional as soon as corns or calluses develop. Further, someone should seek medical care immediately if corns or calluses show signs of infection (such as increasing pain, the presence of pus, or another drainage, swelling, and redness).

Surgical removal of corns is rarely necessary. When corn is surgically removed, the pressure that caused it to form in the first place will just make it come back if this pressure is not removed or reduced. When necessary, surgery for corns involves shaving the underlying bone or correcting any deformity that is causing undue pressure or friction on the skin.

What kind of doctor treats corns and calluses?

  • Primary-care specialists, including internal medicine and family medicine specialists, treat corns and calluses.
  • Podiatrists, and medical practitioners specially trained in the management of foot disorders, also treat corns and calluses of the feet.
  • Surgeons may also sometimes treat corns and calluses.

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A woman relaxes with her feet up on her desk.

A woman relaxes with her feet up on her desk. Source: Getty Images

What is the prognosis for corns and calluses?

Corns and calluses are not serious conditions and can be managed with home remedies or medical treatment. Surgery is very rarely necessary. However, even with management, corns and calluses may recur if there is continued pressure or friction on the affected area. Corns and calluses are benign conditions that do not increase the risk of skin cancer or other serious conditions.

Is it possible to prevent corns and calluses?

In many situations, calluses and corns can be prevented by reducing or eliminating the circumstances that lead to increased pressure at specific points on the hands and feet. Potential preventive measures, therefore, include the following:

  1. Wearing well-fitting comfortable shoes is useful. The idea is to avoid having footgear press on the outside of the fifth toe or pressing the fourth and fifth toes together to prevent corns in these areas.
  2. Another approach is to pad the potentially affected area. Many sorts of padding are available at the drugstore:
    • Cushions to put between the toes
    • Foam or moleskin pads to put over the places where corns form
    • Foam pads with holes in the center (shaped like donuts or bagels), which redistribute pressure around the corn instead of right over it
    • Cushioned insoles to pad the feet and alleviate mechanical pressure

What Does A Corn Look Like After Removed

IMAGES

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Medically Reviewed on 5/6/2022
References

Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.

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