Corns and calluses are hard thickened layers of skin that develop because the skin is trying to protect the soft tissue overlying prominent areas of bone from surrounding pressure and friction.
Corns and calluses typically develop on the toes and feet and fingers and hands. Both conditions are often confused with one another and can be distinguished by their location.
Corns generally occur at pressure points, typically on the top or side of toes, and can be very thickened and painful whereas calluses form on the weight-bearing part of feet and they are flatter, wider, and less painful.
Some corns and calluses on the feet develop simply because of one’s anatomy or a foot deformity. However, in most cases, corns and calluses are caused by ill-fitting shoes.
High-heeled shoes are the worst offender as they place a tremendous amount of pressure on the toes and feet making women four times more likely than men to suffer from corns and calluses. Other risk factors include wearing shoes or sandals without socks due to rubbing and friction.
The prominent bump of a bunion deformity can lead to the formation of a callus due to increased pressure and friction on the skin surrounding the bump as it rubs against one’s shoe.
The claw-like contracture of a hammertoe deformity can lead to the formation of corns as the toe rubs up against the shoe or adjacent toes.
Other foot deformities
Certain conditions, such as a bone spur, can cause constant rubbing inside your shoe leading to a callused heel.
Appropriate Shoe Gear
Not wearing appropriate shoe gear can expose your skin to excessive friction.
At Gotham Footcare, our main focus is to reduce and prevent the formation of corns and calluses by alleviating the friction and pressure that’s causing them to form in the first place. This involves taking a detailed patient history which will include discussing what type of daily and recreational activities you perform and the types of shoes that you wear while performing such activities.
Our doctors will educate you on the pros and cons of different shoe gear for different activities. Wearing the appropriate shoe will significantly reduce unnecessary pressure in areas of high risk. At Gotham Footcare, our doctors make custom-molded orthotics specifically designed to support the unique structure of your feet. Our custom orthotics will match the precise way that you walk and run, cushioning, and support your feet with each step. By controlling the way you move and how your foot strikes the ground, our orthotics will help reduce and eliminate faulty biomechanical forces that cause painful corns and calluses to develop.
Corn removal surgery often occurs after non-surgical attempts have failed, including changing shoe wear, padding, strappings, icing, shaving the corn, or after the application of creams, plasters, and even acid treatments. Corns are tightly compacted kernels of dead skin, they are resistant to many topical treatments, which is why many patients choose surgery as a way to treat them.
Corn removal surgery is a quick outpatient procedure that usually takes less than 20 minutes to perform. A local anesthetic is used to numb the area, a sterile scalpel is used to carefully shave off the dead skin all the way to the root of the corn. In some cases when the joints of a toe are normal and a corn forms resulting from the use of improper fitting shoes, removal of just the corn is possible without any further surgery required. However, in most cases, corns form when the joint of the toe bends out of shape, such as in a hammertoe or bunion deformity, causing the overlying skin to rub into the shoe. When this occurs, the joint has to be repaired at the same time the corn is removed to help assure that the corn will not reoccur. At Gotham Footcare, our doctors will treat your corns to alleviate the pain and unsightly appearance of your corns.
Corns often occur on parts of your feet that don’t actually bear weight, such as on the side, in-between, and on top of your toes. Because they are hard at the center, they can cause pain and in a worst-case scenario, create an open wound on your foot.
Surgically removing a corn will ease any pain or discomfort associated with them, particularly wearing shoes, which would otherwise continue to rub the corn and cause further inflammation. There are also psychological benefits in that many people are embarrassed by the appearance of their feet and do not want to wear open-toed shoes, even when that might decrease their level of pain. By removing corns from the feet, many patients feel increasing confidence in their overall appearance.
The main goal of corn removal surgery is to relieve the pain associated with the deformity and correct the cause of the corn.
There are many different surgical techniques to correct painful corns that depend on the severity of the corns. The surgeons at Gotham Footcare are exceptionally trained to thoroughly evaluate the biomechanical nature of the corn to properly correct the condition. Corn removal surgery is performed as a short outpatient procedure, under monitored IV anesthesia.
On average, it can take up to 20 minutes to remove each corn. A typical surgery aims to shave away the outer layers of dead skin with a scalpel until the root is reached and also removed. An incision may then be made to expose the bones that make up the toe to correct the position of the toe and balance the forces so the deformity does not return. Once the position of the toe is corrected, the incision will be closed with stitches. The entire area is then bandaged and a surgical shoe will be applied to your foot.
As always, care post-surgery is very important, and at Gotham Footcare we are equally focused on helping with a speedy recovery. Most corn removal surgeries require two to three weeks in a postoperative boot or shoe.
During that time, you will need to limit your activities to reduce pressure on your feet and aid in its healing. You will also need to refrain from wearing your regular shoes during this time to get from irritating the healing skin.
Once your foot has healed, you will see a visible difference in how your foot looks compared to before surgery, particularly if you have multiple corns with a rough appearance that have made you avoid wearing shoes that show off your feet. The other result is that you should now be pain-free when you participate in your regular activities. In some cases, corns can develop again, so it’s important to take care of your feet by carefully following all doctor instructions to prevent any future problems.
Corns are not always painful, but they can cause embarrassment.
In addition, if you’ve tried to remove them in non-surgical ways, such as changing shoes or wearing shoe pads, but have not been able to, then corn removal surgery could be your best option for correcting this condition. If you would like to know more about this process, then you will need to book a consultation with Gotham Footcare. One of the surgeons will examine your feet and review your medical history before recommending a treatment plan, so make sure to contact us by phone or email to set up your consultation.
If you have painful corns that you have been unable to remove through non-surgical methods, then corn removal surgery may be your final option to get rid of them. While not all corns are painful, it’s especially important to monitor them if you have a medical condition such as diabetes, in which case a corn can turn into an open wound that struggles to heal.
Not really, as you will be numb after the surgery. Once the anesthetic has worn off, you may take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication to help give you relief if necessary. You will be required to ice and elevate your foot as much as possible the first week after surgery and you will be required to wear a surgical shoe for two weeks.
Most private health insurance companies will cover some or all of the cost. If you do not have health insurance, you can ask about financing or payment options during your consultation.
At Gotham Footcare in NYC, we strive at recognizing your individual needs and desired outcomes while formulating an effective and personalized treatment plan with the highest quality care available.
What sets Gotham Footcare apart from other podiatry offices is our dedication to providing you with the education you need to make well-informed decisions regarding your care. Regardless of what your foot and ankle trouble may be, at Gotham Footcare our team will work tirelessly to help you feel better. At Gotham Footcare, we help you put your best foot forward.