Corn pads are a plaster with a medicated disk that is placed against thickened skin. The disk is made up of some sort of skin softening chemical such as salicylic acid. As you have read above, the corn itself is not alive and therefore can’t be killed. So, on application of the plaster, the corn becomes soft and soggy. You would need some method of removing this debris as, after ceasing the use of the pads, the skin would otherwise just dry out and become re-corny. You should not use corn pads if you have planned a visit to the podiatrist as well, as the effect of the disk makes it difficult to tell where the corny skin finishes and the live skin starts. Likewise, if you plan to cut this soggy tissue away yourself, great care is required not to cut through the soft, dead tissue into the delicate skin below. The second area of concern is that corns by their very nature as much harder than the skin around them.
Unless the acid can be confined exactly to the corny area, it will invade the good skin much quicker and deeper than it will the corny tissue. Where corns cannot be killed, the good skin of course can. Often this results in a patch of dead tissue beside or under the corn. If you are young and healthy, this may be no more than a painful inconvenience for a few days. Even so, in repairing itself from the trauma of the burn, the skin will generally become overly excited resulting in a rapid regrowth of the corn. If you are older, have thin skin, healing problems, diabetes, loss of sensitivity or poor blood flow to the feet, it can be much more serious. The number of foot and leg amputations caused by corn pads have forced the manufacturers to print warning and exclusion messages on the packaging. Use them with care. More information is available at our downloadable Corns and Callus Info Sheet. Alternatively, use this link to return to the Podiatry FAQs Blog.