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Soft Corns

What are they?

Ouch! These toes are killing me! Soft corns are painful lesions or skin build-ups that occur between the toes. Most frequently, they are located between the fourth and fifth (small) toes but can also involve the other digits of the foot. As opposed to the traditional hard corn that occurs on the top of a toe, these so-called soft lesions prefer the areas between the digits where there is moisture and warmth. These lesions are usually quite painful because of persistent friction and are worsened by shoe pressure. The shape and narrowed forefoot confinement of the typical woman’s dress or business shoe, along with a raised heel, creates a ripe environment for these soft corns to occur. Once these soft corns take residence on a foot, it doesn’t take long before the patient needs some help.

What causes them?

In many of the cases involving a painful soft corn, the underlying culprit seems to be a calcium deposit or small spur of bone lying just beneath the lesion itself. A patient can frequently feel this bony prominence by gently palpating the lesion and feeling a hardened protrusion or bump on the hone itself. As the soft corn becomes further aggravated and in the absence of professional care, it may become infected. A soft corn that is surrounded by skin discoloration is painful to touch, has localized heat or warmth, and is having a pus or bloody discharge is suggestive of an infection and should be seen immediately by a foot specialist.

How do you treat them?

The early treatment of a painful soft corn should include a careful monitoring and selection of shoes in order to relieve the persistent pressure. Some sort of pad or cotton ball between the involved toes also helps to relieve the localized pressure and reduces the discomfort. In some instances, a local injection of a steroid or anti-inflammatory medication can be beneficial in not only reducing the discomfort but also in shrinking the lesion size itself. In those cases where the soft corn seems resistant to other measures of care or is so annoying that the patient strongly desires a corrective course of action, surgery is a viable consideration. Procedures are available to address this problem while causing minimal discomfort, inconvenience, and cost.

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