These are called soft corns and can be really painful.
But you might not have a corn here- also it is possible you might not have a corn at all! Check out our foot corn 101
Like with all corns, a soft corn is there for a reason and that reason is split into two.
1- Your toes are just like your fingers- they have bony joints. If those joints start to touch each other for a prolonged period of time then they will start to rub. This rubbing will cause hard skin to form.
2- When you put your foot into a sock or a shoe what happens is that your foot becomes tighter- everything is clustered up against one another. Now if you add your rubbing motion into a tight environment you get a torsion movement. This is were the toes start to move slightly left and slightly right.
Both the compression and the toe joints cause soft corns. So the greater the toe joint bone the greater the risk of corn formation. And the greater the tightness of the shoe the greater the chance of corn formation.
These corns can be in any of the toe spaces, from 4-5 as shown in the above picture, or 1-2 in the below picture:
The possibility of breakdown is ever present especially in these type of corn because there is little in the way of "fat and meat" between your skin and bone. With added pressure from the side the corn presses down on the tissues even more. Sometimes the pressure becomes too great that the blood vessels break and blood seeps into the corn causing a red line or streak within the corn. If that happens you know that blood is being pressed away from the area. If blood can not get to the tissues then they starve of oxygen and then tissue break down occurs and then you will get an ulceration under the corn.
The treatment for these types of foot corns is really simple.
Reduction of the soft foot corn by a Chiropodist/ Podiatrist. This is the simplest of ways and really the only safest way. Once a Chiropodist has removed the corn you can then apply the following preventative measures to stop the soft corn from coming back. A good Chiropodist will actually provide you with one of the following methods if they care about your foot.
And because we know how they are caused we can reduce or eliminate those factors- preventing the soft foot corn from coming back.
1- Toe Joints. We can't actually remodel our toe joints but the next best thing would be to stop the toe joints from rubbing onto each other. This an be done by 2 ways
a- By use of a silicone device: Silicone wedges last a long time (up to a couple of years), are washable and work very well. They are custom made by a Chiropodist to fit inbetween the two toes. This moves the toes apart very slightly so that the joints do not rub.
There are problems though. They are only made by the Chiropodist, but if that Chiropodist doesn't make them that well or doesn't like to- then you will get a poor device. Secondly, if you insert the device wrongly onto your toe it will become ineffective.
The device is a preventative measure- if you have a inbetween foot corn then apply a silicone device it will not work because the corn is there. It prevents the corn from coming back- so it needs to be worn all the time (apart from bed and baths/showers).
Some patients just do not like something "different" on their foot so they resist the device and remove it. Also if the device is made too thick it can be uncomfortable and can move the toes out too much. This can cause a slight problem if the corn is inbetween the 4th and 5th toes. The little toe (the 5th) can be pushed outwards into the shoe and then cause rubbing to the outside of the little toe.
b- Jelly Device (Silipos). These can be bought from "over the counter" and are very much similar to silicone devices, but they are different as well. Jellys are softer and some patients prefer these than the harder silicone deivices. However because they are bought over the counter, they are not specific to your toes. Therefore, they can be too small or too large and thus become ineffective.
2- Tight Shoes. This is simplicity in itself. Get wider shoes or wider slippers. Something is causing your toes to be squeezed together and the culprit is your shoes...nothing else. If you say your shoes are fine then stop reading this because I am telling you that they are not. If you are getting a soft corn, the only way you are getting it is through your shoes being too tight.
Soft foot corns can be very painful but also they are one of the easiest to treat because they are easily prevented. All you need is for the corn to be removed by a Chiropodist, then place a device inbetween your toes and probably buy some wider shoes. Easy.
Places where you could have a corn.
Hi. I'm Dominic. I treat patients every day at a local clinic. I am a trained Chiropodist and I care about prevention. I designed the website to help readers understand treat and even prevent issues from happening to their feet.