The Facts on Foot Corns:


Image of woman holding foot with corn on  pinky toe. 

When there’s an area of pressure or irritation on a spot that’s especially bony on your foot, a corn can appear. Corns are smaller than calluses, and have a hard center surrounded by inflamed skin, and can be painful when touched or rubbed by shoes especially . Formed from a small cellular nidus that sits at the base of the skin, there is a formation of hard, dead skin, they are often cone-like. It will usually form on the parts of your foot that don’t bear weight like the sides and tops of your toes, but can develop in weight-bearing areas too.

Special skin cells found all over your outer layers of skin called keratinocytes produce this hard skin, which is your body’s response to the rubbing and irritation at that site. Unfortunately, this extra skin can become hard and an uncomfortable problem because the cone-shaped area transfers touching or rubbing to the base skin layer underneath, leading to transmission of pain to the sensory nerves.


If you have a foot or toe corn, it is likely because of repeated friction and pressure from footwear. The bones of your toes press up against the shoe, putting pressure on the skin. This thickened skin then irritates the tissue underneath.

Common causes of corns include:

  • Shoes that don’t fit properly. If they are too tight, they increase pressure; if they are too loose, they increase rubbing and friction.
  • High-heeled shoes that put pressure on the front part of your foot
  • Shoes with seams or stitching on the inside that can rub against your foot
  • Socks that don’t fit properly, or not wearing socks at all
  • Toe deformities, like hammer toe or claw toe
  • Repetitive activities like running, climbing stairs or even skiing
image of womans feet next to high heels


The bad news about corns is they’re very common. The good news: they’re usually easily treated at home. Often, it’s as simple as giving your feet a break from that one pair of shoes you love but that rub your toe the wrong way. In addition, you can:

  • Try one of Dr. Scholl’s products for managing corns: corn removers and corn cushions. Dr. Scholl’s Corn Removers with Duragel® Technology are optimal for corn on toes and removing corns on feet overnight.
  • Soak your feet: Use warm, soapy water to soften corns, and use a pumice stone to remove thickened skin. Never use a sharp object to trim the skin yourself, as this can lead to cuts and infection.
  • Moisturize: Use creams or lotions to keep your skin soft and flexible.
  • Wear proper shoes and socks: Make sure your shoes fit you properly and give you lots of cushioning. The same goes for your socks. If your shoes are so tight that you can’t wiggle your toes, they’re too tight. Rotate your shoe type on a daily basis to ensure your feet aren’t always rubbed in the same places.
  • Relieve the pressure: Take pressure off your corn and it may go away. A cushioning pad over your corn can help stop it from rubbing against your shoe and relieve the pressure. The right socks and insole padding within your shoes can also help.

It’s important to know that you can treat corns when they happen, but if you don’t address the underlying issue that’s causing them, they will likely come back.


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