Doc! I have this soft corn in-between my toes and it’s killing me!
I can’t wear my sandals because the callous in-between my toes hurts! What can I do about my painful soft corn and callus?
These three statements are very common when it comes to patients who suffer from painful corns and calluses. To begin, we can define a corn or a callus as a thickened and hardened part of the skin or soft tissue, especially in an area that has been subjected to friction or pressure. This painfully annoying callus is actually the bodies’ way of protecting itself from chronic friction and pressure and helps to prevent skin break down. As a guitarist I know that if I did not develop calluses on my fingertips then practicing my guitar for 30 minutes would be quite uncomfortable. It is the same concept for the feet. If we are consistently on our feet and expose ourselves to friction and pressure then the body will defend itself and produce that hardened skin in order to prevent any wounds from developing. I must then pose the question: Why do we develop soft corns between our toes? Again, the reason is no different from before. Friction and pressure on the skin produce calluses and the reason why the soft corn is soft, is because it is located on a non-direct weight bearing surface. Another contributing factor to soft corns is that typically these lesions exist in-between adjacent toes and this area is prone to moisture due to natural sweating.
So what do we do about these annoying soft corns?
The simplest solution is to debride or shave down the callus until pain is relieved and then add a soft pad at the site of the callus to prevent friction and pressure from reoccurring. The pads are typically made of soft gels, foam, or felt and can be used while walking in your shoes. The pads themselves have a low profile so once you wear them for a few minutes you forget that they are even there. Sometimes a toe sleeve is used and this can cover the entire toe so that it stays in place better as compared to the pads. I typically recommend this type of sleeve for active individuals who have trouble keeping the toe padding in place.
Doc, I have tried all the pads. Are there any other solutions?
At Advanced Podiatry we pride ourselves in being at the cutting edge of podiatric medicine and surgery and that is why we offer minimally invasive surgical techniques to correct for these painful calluses. As we previously mentioned the soft corn is caused by friction and pressure. This pressure and friction can be a result of a boney abnormality of the toe causing increased forces at that specific site. The boney prominence or lump on the toe can be a result of arthritis or trauma and causes increased friction and pressure on the toe. So the simple solution, if the conservative measures fail, is to remove the offending bump of bone to decrease the pressure and friction on the toe. This procedure is carried out by creating a very tiny opening in the skin and using a burr to grind down the offending bone. The procedure requires only local anesthesia and can be done in the comfort of the office. No general or sedation anesthesia is required and the patient can even walk out on their own two feet after the procedure. The recovery period is typically unremarkable but some mild discomfort and swelling may occur. The patient can help relieve these symptoms by simply resting, elevating, and icing the affected foot and this typically will improve the symptoms dramatically. No stitches are required so in a few days the patient is able to shower and resume their usual routine very quickly compared to traditional open surgery. Using MIS is very convenient, safe, and a highly effective technique in getting rid of pesky soft corns.
Please call today to setup your appointment to discuss how the doctors of Advanced Podiatry can help you get rid of those annoying soft corns. We will be more than happy to discuss all the options that may help you improve your foot pain and look forward to
Dr. Jairo Cruz Jr