Do you have corny toes?

pic1Do you have corny toes?
Corn on the cob, popcorn, candied corn, this is what usually comes to mind when the word corn comes up. But did you know you can grow corns on your toes? Corns are thick skin build-up that form on toes when there is pressure to a localized area. Repeated friction from a shoe or the ground rubbing against a bony bump such as a buckled or contracted toe called a hammertoe can cause corns to form.

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They can be unsightly, very painful and develop on top or in between the toes. Their appearance differs from calluses since corns are small with a hard center. Calluses are usually larger and found on weight bearing areas such as the ball of the foot. Corns sometimes are confused with warts on the feet even though warts are a virus which can grow and spread throughout the foot.

Oftentimes a person will seek treatment for their painful corn and buy an over-the-counter premedicated corn pad not realizing that they are dangerous. But what exactly makes this simple little pad dangerous? The pad has salicylic acid which is a chemical that gets rid of the corn by melting/burning the thick hard skin on the toe.

pic3When the pad is removed a white rim is left appearing as if the corn is gone but this is actually where the pad burnt the skin.

If the area looks red, swollen, or hot there may be an infection underneath. The infection may eventually spread to the bone requiring an amputation of that bone. Certain conditions cause decreased sensation in the feet. A person with one of these
conditions might not feel the skin burning:
• Alcoholics
• Autoimmune diseases, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis
• Person undergoing chemotherapy treatment
• Lyme disease
• Shingles
• Hepatitis C,
• HIV/AIDS
• Vitamin B deficiencies
• Kidney disease
• Liver disease
• Hypothyroidism
• Diabetes

So what can you do for a painful toe corn? First of all, look over the shoes in your closet. Do you have at least 1/2 inch space between the end of your shoe and the toes? Is the toe box wide enough? If the shoe has seams and stitching over the painful corn, discard that shoe. An easy way to check if your shoes are the adequate size and shape is to place your foot on a
blank sheet of paper and trace the shape of your foot. Place the questionable shoe on top of your foot tracing. Most people are surprised to find out that the shoe is smaller and narrower than their foot.

Check your socks for seams that irritate the corns. Certain brands such as Thorlos have extra cushioning at the toes that help keep toes from rubbing. Avoid putting too much thickness in shoes that do not have enough room to accommodate.

You can also lightly rub a pumice stone over the corn’s wet hard skin while in the shower. Follow by rubbing a moisturizer on the corn. A little petroleum jelly is safe to rub on the toe. DO NOT try bathroom surgery such as cutting or shaving the corn yourself since this can lead to an infection.

If you are still experiencing pain after trying these changes, it’s time to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist. Your foot doctor will examine your feet and x-ray the toes to identify the specific underlying bone problem.

The corn will be safely debrided (trimmed) with a surgical scalpel. You may eventually need toe surgery which can be performed out patient in a hospital/surgical center.

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Dr. Luepschen demonstrates safe non medicated pad to place on the toes. If you are having corny toe pain, Dr. Olga Garcia Luepschen and Gentle Foot Care Center are
here to help you.

Dr. Olga Garcia Luepschen and the Gentle Foot Foot Care Center are located on U.S. 27.  To schedule an appointment call (863)-314-9255.

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