Foot and ankle problems usually fall into the following categories:
- Acquired from improper footwear, physical stress, or small mechanical changes within the foot.
- Arthritic foot problems, which typically involve one or more joint.
- Congenital foot problems, which occur at birth, are generally inherited.
- Infectious foot problems, which are caused by bacterial, viral, or fungal disorders.
- Neoplastic disorders, usually called tumors, which are the result of abnormal growth of tissue and may be benign or malignant.
- Traumatic foot problems, which are associated with foot and ankle injuries.
A "corn" is a small circular thickened lesion in the skin of the foot. It usually forms due to repeated pressure on the skin, such as the rubbing of a shoe. The name "corn" comes from its resemblance to a kernel of corn. A corn is different from a callus in that it has a central core of hard material.
People with foot deformities, such as hammertoes, often suffer from corns because the tops of the bent toes rub against the tops of shoes.
There are a number of treatment options for corns. When corns get hard enough to cause pain, a foot and ankle surgeon will recommend the treatment option most appropriate for you. However, if the underlying cause of the corn is not treated or removed, the corn may return. It is important to avoid trying to remove a corn at home or using medicated corn pads, as serious infection may occur.
To learn more, listen to the Corns and Hammertoes podcast.