When you're living with painful corns, you just want it gone. It's why there are so many over-the-counter corn treatments. (Which can be dangerous for your feet, so stay away. More on that later.)
It's also why I hear so many rumors and misconceptions about treating corns.
And this is the biggest one: people think that, when treating a corn it will not return if you get the "root" or "seed" out. Of course, I wish that was the case, but it's 100% false. Because, while corns look like they have "seeds" or "roots," that's not why these painful bumps form.
What is a corn?
Corns form in shapes that appear conical. That means they are widest at top and narrow at the bottom. Beacause of that formation, people think corns have roots. But that's not the case.
Yes, a corn forms on your skin with a small, root-like attachment,. But the root forms because of pressure, not because some "seed" implants in your skin. In fact, a corn is thickened skin. It pops up when your shoes push on your toes, or when your bones don't stay where they should.
In other words, pressure makes corns grow. Put more pressure on your corn, it gets bigger. Remove the pressure, and you'll see growth stop.
So, if a corn doesn't have roots, why is it narrow at the base? Well, he most narrow or defined area will be closest to the cause of the pressure. Then, the corn widens as it reaches the surface of the skin. And that pressure comes from your bone. Which means you'll have to address issues with your bone if you want to keep corns from coming back.
Permanent Corn Treatments
By now, you've guessed the answer to your question. If you remove the root of a corn, will it come back? (If you haven't, I'll help you out. The answer is 'yes,' unless you address the underlying pressure.) You see, even in I remove that corn, all I'll give you is pain relief. But if I don't target the pressure that formed the corn, it's going to return.
For that reason, I have to change the pressure on your toes to prevent a corn from coming back. Sometimes, that's as simple as changing your shoes. I can help you select a pair with a larger toe box. We can also pad spots where corns formed, to keep pressure off your toes. Now, for some of you, these swaps may be enough to reduce pressure on the bone.
But that's not the case for everyone. Some patients have biomechanical issues that impact bone alignment. When that's the case, we may be able to relieve pressure with custom orthotics. These medical devices help compensate for certain anatomical problems. They may keep pressure away, so corns don't return.
Having said all that, some patients will need foot surgery to cure corns. Why is that the case? Some corns will form regardless of what shoes you choose. Because many corns form from internal pressure. And that pressure can come from arthritis, bone spurs, or even hammertoes. In these cases, surgery is the best way to remove the pressure from the bone. And it's often the only way to deal with a persistent corn.
Houston Podiatrist Treats Persistent Corns
What does a podiatrist visit for corns look like? When you come into the office, I'll start by paring down dead skin at the corn's top layer. Then, I'll go find that deep "root" and remove it as well. But that's only step two of your treatment plan.
Since I want to make sure that corn doesn't come back, we'll start talking lifestyle once the corn root is out. I'm going to ask you questions and examine your foot and gait. That way, I can figure out what's causing pressure on your toes. So that I can go on and stamp out the source of the pressure.
If it seems like you're just choosing the wrong shoes, I'll get you into a better pair. But if we realize the source of the pressure is the bone, we'll cycle through some other treatment options. At this point, surgery may well be in your future. That doesn't mean you need to panic, though.
Look, I know that foot surgery sounds scary. But surgery to permanently remove corns is a small surgical procedure. Sometimes, I go to the operating room and remove a small piece of bone. In other case, I can shave down a small piece of bone that corresponds to where that corn formed.
Both options are effective because they get rid of internal pressure. And that is what's going to stop your corn from coming back. So next time you come into the office and say, it's back again, I'm going to look at you and say, yes, it's back again.
I won't judge you. And you can choose to come in every so often for me to treat your corn in the office. But if you want to take care of it once and for all, we can discuss the surgical option. Either way, I need to see you to figure out why you're getting corns. So give us a call at the office for an immediate appointment. The sooner we know the true "root" of your corn problem, the quicker we can get rid of them for good!