Corn is a common problem of the lower extremities leading to local thickening of the skin cover. The corn can grow and cause annoying problems.


Corn is actually just a protective skin reaction to external forces affecting the feet. It is typically caused by too tight shoes and high heels. Corns often occur near the joints of the fingers because they are usually exposed to a significant pressure.


The corn is an area of thickened skin and it looks like an irregular lesion of stiff skin that is rough to the touch. Sometimes it can be painful and swollen. The corn may be infected by bacteria and this is usually followed by ulceration. This is especially risky in diabetics with weakened immunity and impaired wound healing, where such infected corn may lead to development of diabetic foot.


The diagnosis is usually done by physical examination as the corn is easily recognizable.


It is important to wear high-quality shoes and socks and prevent overload of the feet. Already present corns can be carefully (!) cut by a razor or a scalpel, or soak in warm water and then gently removed by the pumice stone. Topical application of ointments containing acetylsalicylic acid is also very effective. The acid softens the skin and makes the corn slowly disappear. Any bacterial infection should be treated by locally or orally administered antibiotics, especially in patients with diabetes.


Jiri Stefanek, MD  Author of texts: Jiri Stefanek, MD
 Sources: basic text sources