“Kissing corns” are calluses or corns that develop between the toes, usually between the fourth and fifth (pinky) digits. The pain happens because the toe bones rub against each other creating little corns that “kiss.” They are also called soft corns or calluses.
Despite the name, it’s a very painful kind of callus on the side of the foot, and the pain is made worse when someone wears a tight shoe. They also happen when someone is doing a lot of activity where the toes rub together, increasing the friction between the toe bones.
Because “kissing corns” are located between the toes, they are generally not as hard as other corns and calluses on the bottom or side of the foot due to the natural humidity in the area. These soft calluses can be whitish or yellowish and tend to look spongy.
The best recommendation to those suffering from soft corns is to wear shoes with a wide toe box (try the shoe liner test). More space for the toes means less contact between toe bones. Toe spacers are another solution available on the market.
People try to soak the corns and lightly file them down at home with a pumice stone or a nail file. Trimming foot corns at home is not recommended as it can be dangerous and cause sores and infections, especially if the person has diabetes.
When the “kissing corns” are recurrent, there’s a small procedure that can be done in our offices in which we make a half-inch incision and shave down the bone slightly, so they stop their “love affair'' of rubbing against each other.
Call 508-757-4003 to be seen by a foot and ankle specialist at Central Massachusetts Podiatry, in Worcester and Westborough. Same-day appointments might be available.