Corns are thickened layers of skin caused by repeated pressure or friction. Corns form when the pressure point against the skin traces an elliptical or semi-elliptical path during the rubbing motion. The center of the corn, which is at the point of pressure, gradually widen over time. The hard part at the center of the corn resembles a funnel with a broad raised top and a pointed bottom. Corns may have a dry, waxy, or translucent appearance.

Corns can be painful to walk on, even when they are small. Common locations for corns are on the sole (over the metatarsal arch – the “ball” of the foot), on the outside of the fifth (“pinky”) toe, between the fourth and fifth toes. Unlike other corns that are firm and flesh-colored, corns between the toes are often whitish and messy; they are sometimes called “soft corns” (heloma molles), in contrast to the more common “hard corns” (heloma durums) found in other locations.

Corns can be prevented by reducing or eliminating the circumstances that lead to increased pressure at specific points on the feet. See Dr. Katz for remedies to eliminate all types of corn problems.