Corns develop on the toes due to the thickening of the skin in response to excessive friction or pressure on the area, which may result from footwear that is too tight or foot deformities such as hammertoe, according to MedicineNet. They may also result from abnormalities in gait or movement.
Any activity that causes increased friction on the toes may lead to the development of corns, as stated by MedicineNet. Common locations for corns include the outside of the small toe and the area between the fourth and fifth toes. Although corns develop in people of all ages, they are especially common in those over age 65. Individuals have a greater risk of developing corns if they have bunions or perform work such as gardening and farming. Individuals with fragile skin or poor circulation in the foot should contact a doctor as soon as they discover a corn.
Most treatment options for corns include salicylic acid as the active ingredient due to its ability to dissolve the keratin that makes up the corn, according to MedicineNet. Salicylic acid medications are available as drops, applicators, pads and plasters. Individuals can prevent corns by wearing comfortable, well-fitting shoes, placing moleskin patches over the vulnerable area, placing cushions between the toes and placing rounded cushions over the corn to redistribute pressure to the surrounding skin.