Diseases of the Foot—Corns.


While the treatment of the diseases of the foot has been largely neglected by the physician, a careful study of these conditions will prove to the careful investigator, that many of our most intractable nervous conditions are due to some irritation of the feet.

There is nothing more painful and distressing than a corn or bunion, and one who is compelled to stand or walk all day in tight shoes with a painful corn will find that not only is his temper put to a severe test, but he will become nervous and after a while will find himself unable to attend to business as he should. I have found that many of our nervous wrecks owe their present condition" to the fact that some local disease of the feet has been neglected. The cause for this neglect lies in the fact that the average physician feels that it is below his dignity to attend to these cases This is certainly a wrong conception of the matter, as it is our duty to relieve all diseased conditions.

Corns are caused by pressure which stimulates the skin so that there is an increased flow of blood to the parts, thus causing an increased cell action when a callous is formed for protection. Corns appear in two forms, hard and soft. Soft corns form between the toes, because of the pressure of the joints of the smaller toes on the opposite skin, and the corn is constantly moist with perspiration.

The first thing to do in the treatment of corns, is to remove the cause. The use of broad toed shoes like the Educator and shoes of this class is recommended. For tired feet the cushion sole shoes like the Worth are a blessing and are probably the most satisfactory in all classes of foot diseases.

Many remedies have been used to remove corns, but for all around use salicylic acid in some form has given the best satisfaction, and is the drug commonly used. The following formula has proven satisfactory in my practice:

Morphin gr. 8
Specific cannabis dr. 2
Salicylic acid dr. 2
Flexible collodion oz. 1

Mix. Apply with a brush till a thick film forms over the corn.

This application relieves pain and softens the corn, so that after a few days it can be removed entirely and that without the use of instruments. The salicylic acid and cannabis may be incorporated in an ointment if desired, but I prefer the above plan.

Among other remedies that have proven successful is one composed of concentrated ether, 1 lb.; gun cotton, oz. 1; alcohol, oz. 8; glycerin, oz. 1; aniline to color. The gun cotton is first wet with the alcohol, then all are put in the ether. It is applied with a brush three or four times a week. For soft corns it may be applied on cotton.

Dr. Wood found that the application of Lloyd's thuja ointment not only gave ease, but so "cooked" the corns that they could be removed with the point of a knife after a warm foot bath. It is also claimed that the daily application of Fowler's solution will remove corns in a short time. If the growth is very hard it is softened by the application of liquor potassa before using the arsenical solution.

Sometimes stretching the shoe on the inside, i. e., where the joint of the great toe comes, will relieve the pressure on the little toe and prevent the formation of corns.

Great care should be used in trimming corns as many fatal cases are reported from this cause. The use of sandpaper or a safety razor gives the best results with the least danger.

Ellingwood's Therapeutist, Vol. 2, 1908, was edited by Finley Ellingwood M.D.