How do seed corns form?
Both corns and calluses are the skin’s way of protecting itself from repetitive friction, rubbing, and other chronic irritation. Corns and calluses commonly develop on the feet from wearing shoes which fit poorly.
A seed corn is actually a collection of many small corns. It appears as a dry, stiff bump with an overall seed-like appearance. These can technically form anywhere on the feet, yet are typically found on the bottom of the heel and the ball of the foot.
Corns in and of themselves aren’t problematic unless they’re causing the patient pain. Many times they don’t require treatment beyond wearing shoes which fit properly.
Shoes and corn formation
Corns develop as a direct response to constant rubbing, and tend to form on areas of dry skin. In the majority of cases the underlying cause of these chronic friction injuries are ill fitting shoes, especially high heels. When shoes are too loose, excessive rubbing occurs in the same areas, prompting the skin to grow thicker. If the process continues long enough a corn is formed. Any potential source of friction, whether a seam, stitch, or overly-tight toe box, can eventually lead to a corn.
Socks and corn formation.
Socks are the best means of avoiding excessive friction when wearing shoes. By the same token, if socks are too loose or too tight they can contribute to corn formation.
Repetitive Stress and Overuse
Any repetitive movement can subject the skin to enough chronic strain to cause a corn. This includes walking and running for long distances, especially up and down hills. Even standing for long periods on hard surfaces can lead to corns. An uneven gait often causes the feet to bear weight differently, and has the potential to cause seed corns. In reality, there are as many ways to form corns as there are standing, weight-bearing activities.
Congenital and Acquired Foot Deformities
Any condition which alters the shape of the foot has the potential to cause corn formation. Bone spurs which form at the ends of bones often cause excessive rubbing which can lead to corns. Bunions, which are nothing more than bony bumps, also hasten corn development. Hammertoes and other forms of fixed, unnatural joint contracture often cause corns to form as well.