What is the Difference Between a Corn and a Bunion?

Bunions can be the plague of ballet dancers.
A pumice stone, which can be used to scrape a corn off.
Bunions are typically a more serious and painful problem than corns.
Bunions are bone related, while corns are not.
Article Details
  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 15 October 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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There are several differences between a corn and bunion. The most prominent of these is that a corn is essentially a skin related condition that may affect the nerves in the feet. A bunion conversely is a bone related condition that may ultimately irritate the skin.

A corn forms when skin on the top or bottom of the feet becomes callused. The callus can begin to push into the skin layers causing a sharp point that can jab at or irritate the nerves. This can cause pain when any pressure is exerted upon the corn.

Normal treatment for corn removal includes using a pumice stone to scrape off the corn. Some people also use corn pads, which help to "melt" the corn. However, people with diabetes should not undertake home treatment. They are greatly susceptible to foot infection and should have corns evaluated and treated by a physician.

A bunion occurs when one of the bones in the toes, normally the big toe, begins to grow in toward the other toes. This can be caused by wearing high-heeled, pointed shoes, but may also occur in people who wear relatively comfortable and roomy shoes. People with flat feet are more likely to develop bunions. Career ballet dancers may also be at greater risk from the unnatural position of the feet in toe shoes. Some medical research suggests this bone malformation may be in part genetically predetermined.

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This awkward growth of the bone forces the bone to jut outward, resulting in a big red bump on the toe. It may be quite painful to have any pressure, as from a shoe, applied to this bump. In early stages, pain from a bunion may be relieved with bunion pads. For some people the malformation truly affects ability to walk around or perform their normal level of work.

In these cases, there are many different surgeries, which may remove the bunion, shave down the malformed bone, or retard the bone from further growth. Podiatrists have literally dozens of different surgical options for relieving people of bunion pain, and one option may be better than another depending upon where the bunion forms.

Bunion growth is thus a more serious condition than a development of a corn. Both can be very painful and inhibit walking. However the bunion, if severe, may need to be addressed surgically. The corn rarely ever requires surgical treatment.

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Discuss this Article

anon152872
Post 4

Kasen really you just stopped wearing a pair of shoes and it went away?

anon69339
Post 3

I am thoroughly surprised to click on the first article I found and get a very informative and medically accurate piece of writing.

kasen
Post 2

I had a painful red bump on my foot near my little toe, which a doctor diagnosed as a "bunionette." I stopped wearing one particular pair of shoes (which I'd worn for more than a year with no problems), and it quickly disappeared.

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