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Corns and calluses are common foot conditions, and most of us will experience one or the other at some point in our lives. Often, corns are painless. However, if you’re worried about persistent, uncomfortable or painful corns on feet, solutions are available.
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Corns usually develop on the toes or soles of the feet. They are patches of hard, thickened skin, although they can also have a softer, waxy texture. Sometimes, there is little discomfort. However, some people experience pain when pressure is put on the affected area. Often, this pain is described as feeling similar to walking on a stone or shard of glass.

Corns are common on the balls of the feet and the tops or sides of the toes. While corns can be painless, they can worsen if left untreated. Severe corns can cause considerable discomfort and may become infected, leaking pus or clear liquid.

‘Seed’ corns are less common than other corns. They usually develop on the ball of the foot and appear to be a cluster of small sores. These types of corns can feel very tender or trigger sharp, splinter-like pain. It’s common to mistake seed corns for plantar warts (verrucas). If you’re unsure, it’s best to see a podiatrist so they can diagnose the condition and recommend the best treatment.


Both corns and calluses are formations of hard skin that can affect the feet. They develop to protect the skin underneath from friction but the hardened layer can become uncomfortable. Although they are similar, there are some key differences.

A callus can affect quite a large area of skin, while a corn is usually smaller and more localised. Corns are circular and often develop on the tops, sides, or in between the toes, whereas calluses commonly spread across the ball or heel of the foot. Calluses tend to be yellowish in colour and are rough to the touch. Untreated calluses can be uncomfortable when you stand or walk.

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Corns generally develop due to repeated pressure or friction on localised areas of your feet or toes. This friction can be caused by one of the following:

Improper Footwear

Shoes that are too small can put pressure on specific parts of your feet, causing corns to develop. Wearing high heels or wearing shoes without socks increases the chance of corn formation. Orthotics and insoles can help to alter or redistribute pressure whilst you walk.

Walking Style

Biomechanics can also play a role in corn formation. Your gait, or the way you walk, may put excess pressure on certain parts of your foot. A biomechanical assessment can help uncover any underlying issues.

An Underlying Issue Or Inherited Bone Deformity

Conditions such as arthritis, bunions (deformity of the big toe joint) or hammertoe (a deformity of the middle toe joint) can increase the risk of developing corns. They can cause your feet to press against shoes with more pressure, leading to repeated friction.


It’s best to see a Podiatrist to determine your condition and help you find the best course of treatment.

Once they know what’s causing the problem, they can offer the most suitable form of treatment. Sometimes this can be as simple as changing your footwear. However, in acute cases, you may need to undergo corn removal surgery. If there’s an underlying cause, such as hammertoe, this will also need to be addressed.

Home Treatments

There are some actions you can take to relieve corn pain and help them heal:

  • Soak the corn in warm water for 10 minutes.
  • File it gently with a pumice stone. Use circular movements and be careful not to remove too much skin, which can cause bleeding.
  • Apply moisturising lotion to the corn each day — look for a cream that contains 10% urea.
  • Protect the corn with doughnut-shaped corn pads that will reduce friction from your footwear.

Corn Removal

Corn removal involves carefully removing the hardened skin with sharp medical instruments. Usually, you won’t need local anaesthetic, however, it can be provided if necessary.

Corn Surgery

Corn surgery is performed under local anaesthesia so that you remain comfortable throughout the operation. Once numb, the corn is surgically excised, often stitches will be used to sew the skin back together after the procedure. A large dressing will be applied and a period of rest will be required.


At MyFootMedic, we have a team of expert podiatrists who can guide you through the corn treatment process.

We can offer:

  • A foot health check and routine care
  • Biomechanical assessments
  • Corn treatment
  • Padding and strapping to redistribute pressure
  • Insoles and orthotics to redistribute pressure and alter biomechanical forces
  • Footwear advice
  • Treatment under local anaesthetic (if necessary)
  • Private referral for surgical correction of joint complications such as bunions or hammertoe
  • A letter to your GP, including a referral request for appropriate NHS services.


To prevent corns from developing, it’s important to ensure your shoes fit properly. If they pinch or rub anywhere, protect the skin of the affected area with felt corn pads or bandages. It’s also best to wear socks with your shoes.

Long toenails can force the toes to push up against your shoe. Over time, a corn can develop, so it’s a good idea to keep your toenails trimmed.


If you’d like more advice on foot care and corn prevention or need corn treatment, please don’t hesitate to visit our Bedford clinic or book an appointment with us online.

If you’re wondering about the costs of corn removal surgery, book an appointment today, and our podiatrists will be able to assess, diagnose and treat your corn using the most appropriate methods.