A soft corn is the buildup of skin between the toes. The name is misleading because often this type of skin is hard. In any case, it can be quite painful.
The most common place for a soft corn is the inside of the little toe. Not only is it the most common, it’s also the most painful. Oftentimes, a patient will complain of severe pain in their little toe and not know why. One would not necessarily know to look between the toes. Even if you could see it, the soft corn could be so small you wouldn’t expect it to cause such severe pain.
Soft corns can also happen between other toes. The simple reason as to why it occurs in the first place is excessive friction. Two toes have to be rubbing together for a soft corn to develop. Sometimes the reason is obvious as in toe deformities such as hammertoes and bunions and sometimes the toes are perfectly straight.
When a patient presents with pain in the toes we always take x-rays. We’re looking for bone spurs, arthritis, bone tumors, fractures, and bone infections. Knowing the cause of the problem allows us to determine a long-term solution rather than just treating the symptoms.
A soft corn on the toe in someone with diabetes can lead to a very serious problem. Immediate attention by a specialist is essential. A soft corn can lead to an open wound, infection, and even an amputation.
Since many people with diabetes have numbness in their toes, inspecting between them on a daily basis is recommended. Anything that looks suspicious should be addressed by a podiatrist immediately. Attempting to self-treat this kind of condition can lead to unfortunate consequences.
The worst thing for anyone to do who feels or sees something between the toes is treat it with an over-the-counter medicated product. Not only is it a waste of money, it isn’t effective. Worse yet, we’ve seen these products make the situation worse.
There is often a simple solution to most foot conditions. What makes it more difficult is that people wait longer than necessary and try to self-treat. Unfortunately, information found on the Internet is often misleading and can end up causing more problems than help.
If you are experiencing pain in your toes and don’t know why or you know a soft corn is present we recommend a professional evaluation. You don’t have to let a simple condition lead to something major.