Corns are a buildup of dead skin with a hard center core that develops on or between the toes.
Corns are basically a protective response of your body to repeat friction or pressure.
The bad news is, they can also be very painful.
The good news, however, is that there are many things you can do to get rid of corns.
In most cases, corns appear due to continuous irritation 1.
The skin on the toes begins to thicken and harden.
The defensive mechanism of your skin protects you against blistering or ulcers.
But if left untreated, corns become painful and can make walking difficult.
Why do you get corns?
Corns do not choose people by race, age, or gender.
They can appear at anyone.
However, there are certain groups that are more prone to them.
For example, people with bunions or hammertoes, scars or warts on their feet, and damaged sweat glands, those are more prone to corns.
People that have diabetes, and other conditions causing poor blood flow to the feet, are at higher risk of developing corns 2.
If you have diabetes, it is imperative that you consult with a physician about a treatment, and do not try home treatment.
Symptoms of corns include thick and rough skin, pain when pressing on them, and hard raised bumps.
Corns can also cause discomfort while walking or standing.
In most cases, eliminating the source of friction or pressure will allow the corns to heal.
What causes corns?
As mentioned previously, friction and pressure are usually the cause of corns 3.
But why does it happen?
In some cases, corns on the feet develop from poor gait.
However, in more frequent cases, they happen due to ill-fitting shoes that cause pressure and friction.
For example, high-heeled shoes are the worst, as they put pressure on the toes and make women four times more likely to experience foot problems.
Other risk factors include wearing shoes or sandals without socks, which often results in friction on the feet.
Difference between corns and calluses
Before we get to the home remedies section, let’s talk about a condition that is very similar.
People often mistake corns for calluses 4.
The treatment is different, so it is important to understand what is what.
Corns occur on the tops and sides of the shoes.
Hard corn manifests as a small patch of thickened and dead skin with a small plug of skin in the middle of it.
A soft corn, on the other hand, has a thinner surface, appears rubbery and whitish, and occurs between the toes.
Seeds corns are clusters of tiny corns that can be tender if they are on a weight-bearing part of the foot.
Seed corns appear on the bottom of the feet.
Clusters, on the other hand, are hard and rough-feeling areas of skin that can develop not only on feet, but also on hands, and anywhere on the body there is repeated friction.
For example, they can appear on a violinist’s chin.
Similar to corns, calluses have several variants.
The common callus appears when there is a lot of rubbing against the feet.
Home Remedies to Get Rid of Corns
As mentioned previously, there are a lot of home remedies that can help you get rid of corns 5.
Yes, you can always get over the counter lotions and creams.
But natural remedies carry no side effects.
Castor oil and apple cider vinegar
This is one of the best mixtures for getting rid of corns.
Start by filling a basin with hot and soapy water.
Add a cup of vinegar, and then soak your feet into the water for 15 minutes.
After soaking the feet, dab some castor oil and treat the corns 6.
They should peel away after 10 days of the treatment.
Vitamin A or E
Use a needle to prick a vitamin A or E capsule.
Rub the oil onto your corn before going to bed.
Let the oil stay there for a few minutes, and then put on a white cotton sock and go to bed.
Remove the sock in the morning, and repeat the treatment every night until the corn is gone.
Right before going to bed, slice a lemon peel and place it over the corn 7.
Secure with a bandage, and cover with a white cotton sock.
Let it stay overnight, and continue every night until the corn is gone.
Get a glass container, and pour white vinegar in it.
Add a slice of white onion, and leave the container in a warm place during the day 8.
Cover the corn with the onion before you go to bed, and use a bandage to hold it in place.
In the morning, check the corn.
If it is not soft enough, repeat the treatment every night until it is soft enough to be removed.
Crush five uncoated aspirin tablets.
Mix them with equal parts of apple cider vinegar and water.
Prepare a paste, and then rub it onto your corns.
Use a bandage to hold the paste in place, and after 10 minutes, rub it off.
Toss a handful of Epsom salt into a basin of warm water.
Soak your feet in it for 10 to 15 minutes.
Once the skin has softened, use a pumice stone to rub off the top layers.
Continue grinding down each day after a bath or a shower.
It might take a while, but the corn will be gone.
A staple in the kitchen, baking soda can be used to treat many skin conditions 9.
Mix equal parts of baking soda and water.
If you like, you can add some lime juice to the paste.
Apply to the corn, and let it stay overnight.
In the morning, check the status of your corns.
Repeat every night until the corn becomes dry and flakes away.
For this remedy, you need a tablespoon of turmeric and 1 and a half tablespoon of honey.
Prepare a paste with the ingredients, and then apply to the corn 10.
Let it dry on the spot, and then rinse with warm water.
Repeat the treatment two times per day.
The corn will reduce in size within three days.
As a natural antioxidant, garlic can be helpful in treating corns.
In addition, garlic has antifungal and antibacterial properties that will prevent infection on the spot 11.
Rub half of a garlic clove on the corn.
Let the skin dry, and then cover with a bandage.
Let it stay there overnight.
In the morning, remove the bandage and wash the feet with warm water.
Repeat the treatment every night until the corn is gone.
Papaya is rich in enzymes that help heal your dead skin cells.
Papaya will also help with pain and discomfort you might be feeling due to the corns.
The exotic fruit will keep the corn dry and make it fall off faster.
Start by grating a small piece of raw papaya and extract its juice.
Soak a cotton ball in the juice, and then apply on the corn.
Secure the cotton ball with tape, and let it stay overnight.
In the morning, use a pumice stone to gently exfoliate the skin and remove the corn.
Repeat the treatment until you are satisfied with the results.
How to prevent corns
The best way to get rid of corns is to prevent them.
Prevention not only helps you eliminate corns, but also prevents them from returning.
There is a saying that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound cure”.
Here are some tips for how to prevent corns.
- Wear properly fitted shoes
- Wear shoes that are well-padded, and have a wide toe box
- If you develop corns, bring your shoes to a cobbler to have the toe box stretched in the area
- Choose thick socks to absorb pressure on the foot
- Make sure your socks fit loosely and do not cause the shoe to be too snug
- Make sure socks do not have seams that rub against any corns