Foot calluses (or technically speaking Hyper Keratosis) and bunions (or Hallux Abducto Valgus) are two very common, but very different foot conditions that can cause significant discomfort and that affect the appearance and function of the foot.
Let’s delve into each of these conditions:
Foot Callus (Hyperkeratosis):
- A foot callus is a thickened and hardened area of skin that forms as a protective response to friction, pressure, or irritation. Callus usually occurring on joints of the toes, or high pressure areas of the feet (heels of soles)
Symptoms of Hyperkeratosis:
- Thickened, rough, or hardened skin.
- Discomfort or mild pain.
- Can start as a blister, and dry out to a callus
- Can be discoloured and thicker than the skin around it
Treatment of Foot Callus/Hyperkeratosis:
- Using moisturising creams to keep the skin soft.
- Regularly exfoliating the area to reduce the thickness of the callus.
- Wearing well-fitting, comfortable shoes.
- Using orthotic inserts to redistribute pressure.
- See a podiatrist to debride the excess thickened skin, and treat with offloading devices and education
- DO NOT use medicated corn/callus pads as the acid can burn through your normal skin and create a wound.
Bunion/ Hallux Abducto Valgus (HAV):
A bunion is a bony bump that forms at the base of the big toe where it joins the foot. Bunions are often accompanied by inflammation and can cause significant discomfort.
Symptoms of Bunion:
- Visible bump on the side of the foot, near the base of the big toe.
- Pain, particularly when mobilising or wearing tight shoes.
- Redness, swelling, or inflammation at the bunion site.
- Limited movement of the big toe.
- When sore, you alter your walk which makes other parts of your feet/legs sore too!
Treatment of Bunion:
- Wearing comfortable, wide-toed shoes that don’t compress the toes.
- Using customised orthotics and well fitting shoes, to alleviate pressure on the bunion.
- Exercise programme from your podiatrist to minimise movements that worsen the pain
In summary, foot calluses are areas of thickened skin caused by friction and pressure, while bunions are bony protrusions that form at the base of the big toe due to misalignment of the joint.
If you are experiencing foot discomfort or have concerns about your feet, it’s best to consult a podiatrist for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Are calluses and corns the same thing? We’ve answered that here.