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Say NO to Corn Pads

I have many clients ask me what my thoughts are on corn pads and do they really work? I think before I can answer with a simple NO, I need to explain why this is the case.

Corns are a hard “plug” of keratin or hard skin that forms over a bony prominence of the foot. This hard “plug” puts pressure on the free nerve endings in the skin, responsible for the sharp pain, most patients experience in the area.

A commonly misunderstood theory is that if you cut out the corn and “get all of it out” it will not grow back. THIS IS NOT TRUE!

Corns are not like warts, they do not have “routes”, so no matter how deep you dig at the corn to remove it, and even if you get out the whole “plug” of hard skin out the corn can and WILL come back if the reason that is causing it has not been addressed.

Corns form from PRESSURE and PRESSURE ONLY. Therefore if you do not change or remove the pressure to that area, the corn will be an ongoing problem.

If the corn is not cut out deep enough you may still be able to feel the corn, but this is not the reason it has come back. Corns come back because of the way you walk or the shoes you wear that put pressure on the bony prominences of the feet, where the corn forms.

I hope this clears up some misconceptions people have and will better explain why corn pads do not work to permanently remove your corn.


How Do Corn Pads Work Then?corn pads

There are two types of corn pads:

  • Donut shaped cut outs, that go around the corn.
  • Solid pads, that go over the area of the corn.


The donut shaped pads work but placing the corn in the middle of the pad so when you walk pressure is placed on the pad and not on the area of the corn . This results in temporary pressure reduction that results in pain relief and prevents the corn from getting worse.

The solid pads that go over the corn work by using salicylic acid to soften the corn.  If the hard “plug” is softened, it places less pressure on the free nerve endings in the skin and hence less pain, it does not remove it permanently.


How Do You Get Rid of Corns for Good?

  • Have your footwear checked by a podiatrist to make sure the fit is right, the insole is free from defects and the type of shoe is appropriate (non fastening shoes will increase corns as they cause more friction and pressure).
  • Have the way you walk assessed by a podiatrist to see where the most pressure is placed on your feet.
  • Have a customised insole or orthotics placed in your shoe to permanently offload pressure to the bony prominence on your foot, preventing the corn from reforming.
  • If the corn is in between the toes or on the tips of the toes, have a podiatrist make an wedge for your toes, to remove the pressure.

SO…….regardless what marketing you hear corn pads do not permanently remove corns but help with pain management and temporary relief.

Now onto my second concern with people using corn pads. Corns pads with salicylic acid need to be used with extreme caution as they can cause more harm to the skin, resulting in wounds or burns. This is very dangerous for elderly people, where the circulation and ability to heal is reduced in the feet.

People with diabetes should avoid corn pads at all cost as they may lead to wounds, ulcers and infections ,if used incorrectly or for too long.


For permanent treatment options to remove corns speak to your podiatrist or come and talk to us at Proactive Podiatry during your next consultation.


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