Corns are small, dead-skin buildups caused by pressure or friction from ill fitting shoes or from bony prominences. Hard corns form on the tops of toes where shoes press directly; soft corns develop between the toes.
Corns are seldom painful enough to require medical treatment. Comfortable shoes will keep them from worsening and even, in time, encourage them to disappear. Protect them, meanwhile, from pressure or friction with adhesive cushioning or sponge rubber rings, both sold in drugstores.
If a corn is sensitive, soak it in warm water for 15 minutes; then rub it with pumice stone to remove surface skin (never trim or pare a corn). Afterward apply a mild softening ointment, such as petroleum jelly or a lanolin preparation. If, after five daily treatments, the corn is still painful, ask your doctor or podiatrist about surgical or chemical removal.