Obscure Medical Terms: How Well Do You 'Speak Medicine'?

Albert B. Lowenfels, MD


November 09, 2018

Image courtesy of James K. DeOrio, MD

Corns or clavus occur as the result of intermittent pressure and frictional forces, and most typically occur on the feet. These circumscribed, hyperkeratotic lesions may be hard (ie, heloma durum) or soft (ie, heloma molle). Proper shoes, soft socks, and shoe inserts are common preventive measures; home remedies include protective pads.

These troublesome lesions are more common in patients with bunions, a hammertoe, or a bone spur. In patients with diabetes or impaired circulation, an infected corn can be the trigger for much more serious problems. If treatment is necessary, the corn can be trimmed away, or removed with the application of a salicylic acid patch. Rarely, surgery may be necessary to reshape the underlying bone that's causing the pressure point.


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