The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Interdigital Corns 101: At-Home Action Plan to Treat Unsightly, Painful Clavi

Posted by on Friday, March 28th, 2014


The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine in New York treats major injuries such as ankle fractures, severe bunions in need of surgery, club foot, broken toes, and chronic arthritis. However, no job is too small for us. From time to time, we have clients who come in with painful, unsightly interdigital corns in dire need of treatment. Some people find their corns cause such trouble that they are unable to work. Fortunately, there is much you can try at home before coming in to see us.

soft corns
Soft corns form between the toes, whereas hard corns form on top of toes or along the outside of the toes.
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What Are Interdigital Corns & What Causes Them?

Heloma molle — a.k.a. a “soft corn” — is considered an interdigital corn when it is found between two toes (usually the fourth and fifth toes). We see dancers and women with this condition most often. Toe deformities — especially bunions, hammertoes, and heel spurs — often contribute to the formation of corns. They are also caused by narrow-fitting shoes and moisture between the toes. The constant friction creates these ugly lumps.

Corns may look white and wrinkly like you’ve just had a long bath, or they may be red and filled with blood. Since the skin is so thin on the foot, it’s a dangerous area to develop a growth. The tissue here often breaks down and becomes infected. Ulcers formed between the toes can be extraordinarily painful and lead to serious secondary infections.

toe separator
A toe separator takes the pressure off an injured toe.
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How Can Corns Be Treated at Home?

When a corn first appears, you can try the following home remedies:

– Soak the feet in Epsom salt and white vinegar in the morning and at night.

– Clean the space with soap and water. Dry it with a tissue.

– Apply Betadine solution or alcohol twice a day to kill bacteria.

– Use gel pads or spacer devices to remove pressure from the corns, which will alleviate pain and prevent them from worsening.

It’s important that you resist the urge to remove the skin, which will only open up your body to bacteria, fungi, and viruses. You should seek professional help if warmth, redness, swelling, and pus are evident, as these symptoms signify infection.

How Are Corns Removed?

A podiatric surgeon from The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine can permanently remove unsightly corns if you wish. It’s a relatively quick and easy surgical procedure, but you will need to reduce pressure between the toes during your recovery. You’ll need to kiss those heels good-bye, and wear an interdigital toe separator for a while. Corns may reappear in four to eight weeks, but with regular removal and due diligence on your part, they can be eradicated within a few podiatrist visits.

corn prevention
Wearing comfortable shoes with wide toe boxes can prevent corns from developing.
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Can Interdigital Corns Be Prevented?

Corns do not form when the skin is dry, so be sure to dry your feet after showering. Consider changing your shoes and avoiding plastic high heels that have pointy toes and lack ventilation. If heels are a must, look for roomier toe boxes and consider wearing hidden cotton liners. For more tips, contact our NY podiatrist office.


If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.