Corns Removal Specialist

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Dr Poh Seng Yew

MBBS

MRCSEd

MMED (Ortho)

FRCSEd

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What are Corns?

Corns develop on the toes due to persistent friction and pressure, typically from bones pressing against footwear. This continuous pressure causes the skin’s surface layer to thicken and build up, leading to irritation of the underlying tissues.

There are different types of corns, characterised by their appearance and texture. Hard corns, commonly found on the top or sides of toes, present a dense and compact structure. Soft corns, in contrast, have a more rubbery texture and are usually located between the toes, where they are kept moist.

Causes of Corns

Corns primarily develop due to factors that cause excessive pressure and friction on the toes.

  • Ill-Fitting Footwear
    Shoes that are too tight can squeeze the foot, putting pressure on the feet and the toes. Shoes that are too loose allow the foot to slide and rub against the shoe, generating friction.
  • High-Heeled Shoes
    These types of shoes place increased pressure on the forefoot, leading to the development of corns.
  • Ill-Fitting Socks
    Socks that do not fit correctly can contribute to the formation of corns by creating additional friction inside the shoe.
  • Seams or Stitches Inside Shoes
    Rubbing against a seam or stitch inside the shoe can also be a factor in corn development.
  • Toe Deformities
    Conditions such as hammer toe or claw toe alter the foot’s shape, causing abnormal pressure points and friction.

Symptoms and Signs

Corns manifest through a range of symptoms and signs, which are a direct result of the continuous pressure and friction that lead to their development.


  • Thickened Skin on Toes: A prominent feature is the development of a thick, rough area of skin, usually on the toes.
  • Hardened Raised Bumps: These bumps, characteristic of corns, are often located on the toes.
  • Tenderness and Pain: Tenderness or pain is often experienced underneath the skin in the affected area. This can be exacerbated by pressure from shoes or walking.
  • Dry, Flaky or Waxy Skin: The skin around a corn can become dry, flaky, or appear waxy.

Diagnosis

Corns are usually diagnosed through visual examination. Corns have distinct appearances, such as a central tender spot surrounded by thickened skin. Its unique characteristics can help distinguish it from other skin conditions like warts or cysts. The foot and ankle specialist will examine the area and look for these signs.

Non-Surgical Treatment Options

There are various non-surgical treatment options for corns, which focus on relieving symptoms and addressing the root causes.

Soaking and Filing the Corns

Regularly soaking the feet in warm water softens the corns, making it easier to gently file down the thickened skin using a pumice stone, emery board, or washcloth. This helps remove the layers of toughened skin.

Protective Padding for the Corns

Using foam pads or corn plasters can temporarily alleviate pressure on the corn. These pads are typically doughnut-shaped, allowing the corn to sit in the centre hole, thus reducing direct pressure.

Proper Footwear or Orthotics

Pain and discomfort can be alleviated by wearing shoes that fit well and have adequate cushioning for the toes. Shoes should have a wide toe box to prevent toes from rubbing against the shoe. For corns caused by toe deformities, toe separators or custom-made orthotic devices can be effective in redistributing pressure away from the corns.

Corn Removers and Medications

Over-the-counter corn removers or medicated pads containing salicylic acid can be used with caution. These products must be applied carefully to avoid damaging healthy skin around the corn.

Surgical Treatment Options

In certain cases where non-surgical methods are ineffective, surgical options may be considered.

Surgical Removal

If corns become exceedingly painful or recurrent, surgical removal may be necessary. This procedure involves the excision of the corn and the surrounding hardened skin.

Bone Alignment Surgery

For corns caused by bone deformities, such as hammer toes, surgery may be required to correct the bone alignment. This helps alleviate the pressure points that lead to corn formation.

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Prevention Strategies

Effective prevention of corns involves measures aimed at reducing pressure and friction on the feet.

  • Wearing Comfortable and Supportive Footwear - Shoes should provide ample room in the toe area, be well-cushioned, and have shock-absorbing soles. High-heeled, narrow-toed shoes should be avoided as they can push toes forward, causing friction.
  • Wearing Socks to Reduce Friction - Wearing socks that fit snugly without bunching up under the feet helps reduce friction inside shoes.
  • Using Cushioned or Padded Insoles - Using insoles can distribute weight evenly on the feet, thereby preventing calluses. Customised insoles may be recommended for those with a history of corns or calluses.
  • Keeping Good Foot Hygiene and Moisturisation - Regular washing and drying of the feet, along with the application of moisturising creams, keep the skin supple and reduce the risk of corn development.
  • Addressing Underlying Foot Deformities - Managing underlying foot deformities, such as bunions or hammertoes, can help prevent corn formation caused by abnormal pressure distribution.
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Dr Poh Seng Yew

MBBS

MRCSEd

MMED (Ortho)

FRCSEd

With over 18 years of experience, Dr Poh Seng Yew is an orthopaedic surgeon specialising in hip, knee, shoulder and elbow surgery, sports medicine, and trauma surgery.

  • Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS), National University of Singapore
  • Member, Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (MRCSEd)
  • Master of Medicine (Orthopaedic Surgery), National University of Singapore
  • Fellow, Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, FRCSEd (Orthopaedic Surgery)
  • Clinical Hip and Sports Medicine Fellow, Orthopädische Chirurgie München (OCM), Germany

 

Insurance

Shield Plans

Corporate Partners

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Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre
38 Irrawaddy Road, #08-62/63
Singapore 329563
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Weekdays: 9.00am – 5.00pm
Saturdays: 9.00am – 1.00pm
Sundays and Public Holidays: Closed

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    Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre
    38 Irrawaddy Road, #08-62/63
    Singapore 329563

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

    What Is the Difference Between a Corn and a Callus?

    While corns and calluses are both areas of thickened skin caused by friction and pressure, they differ in appearance and location. Corns are smaller, defined, and typically found on the toes, either on top, sides or between them. Calluses, on the other hand, are larger, flatter, and often located on weight-bearing areas of the feet like the heels or balls of the feet.

    What Happens if a Corn Goes Untreated?

    Leaving a corn untreated may lead to its growth and increased discomfort. In some cases, untreated corns can cause infections or develop into more severe skin conditions. Early consultation with a foot and ankle specialist can provide effective treatment options and prevent complications.

    Does It Hurt to Remove a Corn?

    Corn removal, when performed by a foot and ankle specialist, is generally conducted with minimal discomfort. Corns should not be removed at home due to the risk of injury and infection.

    Will Removing a Corn Leave a Hole in the Foot?

    Professional corn removal does not leave a hole in the foot. The procedure safely reduces the thickened skin, relieving pressure and discomfort while leaving the underlying skin intact.