Corns are areas of thickened skin that develop as a result of repetitive friction. The thickened skin forms to protect the skin from chronic irritation. Corns area located in non weight bearing areas of the foot, typically the tops or sides of toes.


Corns develop in response to friction of either the toes rubbing together or against the toe box of the shoe. Common causes are:

  • Ill-fitting shoes, socks or stockings that are too tight around the toes.
  • High heel shoes which force pressure on the tips of the toes.
  • Shoes that are too loose and allow the foot to slide within the shoe.
  • Structural deformities of the toes: hammertoe, mallet toe, claw toes. The deformed toe is elevated or crooked and results in excessive pressure on toe box of the shoe.


Corns as they get thicker can result in sharp pain due to pressure on nerves and underlying joint. They usually have a dull appearance and skin lines are typically visible. They are often confused with a wart. Corns left untreated can result in the underlying skin to break down and ulcerate leading to an infection. In patients with diabetes or circulation problems this can be quite serious.


Corns are typically diagnosed based on appearance. Your Podiatrist will examine your feet, shoes, and gait to determine the cause of the irritation. X-rays may be performed to evaluate the underlying bony structure.


The goal to treatment of a corn is to eliminate the excessive friction being placed on the toe. This is done either conservatively or surgically.

Conservative treatment involves removing the external forces on the toes that are causing friction.

  • Proper shoe gear is a must. The toe box of the shoe should be deep enough so as to prevent irritation.
  • Change in socks: padded sock, two layers of socks, or newer two layer socks work well in decreasing friction.
  • Lubrication of problem areas with a petroleum product can aid in decreasing friction.
  • Foam or silicone pads work well in decreasing friction on the toes.
  • If the toe is inflamed warm soaks followed by ice works well.
  • Visit you podiatrist who can remove some of the thickness of the corn.

Do not use of chemical corn removal products or cutting the corns especially if you are diabetic, have circulation or immunity problems.

Surgical treatment is an option should conservative treatment fail. The goal of surgery is to straightening the toe so it no longer rubs on the shoe. This is common in the treatment of hammertoes, claw toes, and mallet toes.

*For products used to decrease friction and prevent and manage a painful corn we recommend

*If you have a painful corn that just will not go away, please call our office (numbers below) or fill out the contact form and we will contact you.


I suffered with chronic heel pain for over a year. I finally went to see Dr. Fritz who examined me and performed X-rays on the same visit. He diagnosed me with plantar fasciitis. After a course of physical therapy, a cortisone shot and a pair of custom orthotics I’m able to walk pain free again.

- Jeff C.

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