Corns are local, cone shaped thickenings of the outer layer of the skin of the feet, due to pressure and friction of the shoes, or opposed surfaces of skin between the toes. They are not in themselves sensitive, but pain follows pressure upon them, as they act as foreign bodies in bearing down upon the sensitive lower layers of the skin. Continued irritation often leads to inflammation of the skin around and beneath the corn with the formation of pus. Ordinarily, corns are tough, yellowish, horny masses, but, when moistened by sweat between the toes, they are white, and are called “soft corns.”
Treatment. Comfortable shoes are the first requisite; well fitting and neither tight nor loose. Pressure may be taken off the corns by surrounding them with felt rings or corn plaster. To remove the corn the foot should be soaked for a long time in warm water, in which is dissolved washing soda, and then the surface of the corn is gently scraped off with a clean, sharp knife. Another useful method consists in painting the corn, night and morning for five days, with the following formula, when both the coating and corn will come off on soaking the same for some time in warm water:
Salicylic acid 30 grains Tincture of iodine 10 drops Extract of Cannabis Indica 10 grains Collodion 4 drams
When the tissues about the corn become inflamed the patient must rest with the foot elevated and wrapped in a thick layer of absorbent cotton saturated with a hot solution of corrosive sublimate (one tablet to the pint of water) and covered with oil silk or rubber cloth. Pus must be let out with a knife which has been laid in boiling water.
If corns are removed by the knife the foot should be previously made absolutely clean, the knife boiled, and the paring not carried to the extent of drawing blood. The too close removal of a corn may lead to infection of the wounded tissues with germs, and in old people, and those with feeble circulation, gangrene or erysipelas may result. Soft corns are treated by removal of the surface layer, by soaking in washing soda and hot water and scraping as above stated, and then the corn should be dusted with a mixture of boric acid and zinc oxide, equal parts, and the toes kept apart by pads of absorbent cotton.