It’s not uncommon for people to confuse bunions and corns – even though these two conditions have quite different etiology, they can often present with the same symptoms. If you’re not sure what it is that you have, learning about the difference between a bunion and a corn can be of huge help to you.
What Are the Characteristics of Both Bunions and Corns?
One of the main things that bunion deformities and corns have in common is that both are small bumps on your foot. The symptoms that occur in both conditions include pain, sensitivity to the touch, and difficulties when wearing shoes or doing physical activity. Additionally, it’s worth mentioning that corns and bunions can occur together, on one foot or even both feet.
What Are the Causes and Symptoms of Bunions?
The bunion deformity is a bony protrusion on the base of the big toe. It’s caused by the change in the alignment of the bones, more specifically, the first metatarsal bone – the bone shifts inwards, causing the protrusion on the side of the foot. There’s also a similar condition called tailor’s bunion, where the protrusion is located at the base of the little toe (the fifth metatarsal bone is irregularly aligned).
Bunions can occur due to numerous reasons, the most common being issues with the foot structure (which are often hereditary), injuries of the foot, and inflammatory diseases (like rheumatoid arthritis). Symptoms of a bunion are pain, difficulty wearing shoes, inability to bend the big toe, stiffness or numbness in the big toe joint, and possible development of corns or calluses on the top of the bunion. The skin in the area of the bunion is often red and inflamed.
What Are the Causes and Symptoms of Corns?
Corn is a skin lesion similar to a callus – it’s a buildup of hardened, thickened skin. Corns form in the areas of the foot that are exposed to excessive pressure or friction. This is usually due to wearing uncomfortable shoes – either high heels or footwear that’s too narrow for the foot. Walking barefoot or not wearing socks with shoes are also important risk factors for corns.
Certain physical activities where there’s too much pressure on the foot can cause this problem as well. Lastly, some structural deformities like bunions and hammertoes can have corns forming on top of them. Corn symptoms include pain, discomfort, and sensitivity to the touch (including the sensitivity of the surrounding normal skin). They can get infected, in which case they will hurt more than usual.
What Is the Difference Between Bunion and Corn Location on the Foot?
As mentioned above, bunions are located on the base of the big toe (or a little toe, if we’re talking about a tailor’s bunion). They can’t be located anywhere else on the foot, whereas corns can technically form anywhere on the foot – as long as there is pressure or friction in that area. The location of the corn usually depends on its type – there are three main types of corn:
- Soft corn – found between the toes,
- Hard corn – found on the top of the toes,
- Seed corn – forms on the soles of the foot.
Is There a Visual Difference?
While bunions have normal skin (which can sometimes be red and inflamed, depending on the severity of the case) and look like bony bumps, corns are small, round bumps formed from dead skin cells. They can be yellowish, whiteish, or even grayish sometimes.
Visit Your Doctor in Miami, and You Can Get Rid of Both Corns and Bunions
If you’re not sure which condition you have, reach out to a podiatrist for a diagnosis – for example, someone from our team at Luxe Foot Surgery clinic. Our doctors will help you restore your feet’s health in no time – contact us to schedule your free first consultation.