This section is from the book "Smith's Family Physician", by William Henry Smith. See also: Natural Physician's Healing Therapies: Proven Remedies that Medical Doctors Don't Know.
Corns are growths of thick skin, and are produced when the skin, situated over some projecting piece of bone, is irritated by frequent pressure or friction. They may be found occasionally on the hands, caused by hard work, but their usual seat is on the feet or the toes; where they are caused by the pressure of tight boots. They are divided into two kinds, the hard and the soft. The hard are situated on the surface of the foot where the skin can become hard and dry; the soft between the toes, where the skin is soft and spongy. What are generally called soft corns between the toes, are excessively irritable fungous warts, and consist of a growth from the true skin; not of a mere thickening of the cuticle. Moreover, according to Sir Benjamin Brodie, when a corn is completely formed, a minute bursa is developed between it and the true skin.
The boots or shoes should be properly adapted to the shape and size of the feet. The feet should be frequently soaked in warm water, after which the hard corns, those situated on the surface, should be shaved down. They may afterwards be covered with soap plaister, softened with oil, spread on a piece of soft kid leather. For the soft corns between the toes, touching them with lunar caustic is the best remedy. When a corn inflames, and the bursa between it and the skin suppurates, the pain often excruciating, and only to be relieved by paring it down and letting out the fluid.