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Is It a Bunion or a Callus?

Most people don’t give their feet a second thought until something goes wrong. Two of the most common reasons that men and women seek help from a podiatrist are for bunions and calluses. If you’ve developed a tough, sensitive area on one or both of your feet, you may be wondering which one is the source of your discomfort.  

At AllCare Foot & Ankle Center in Arlington and Dallas, Texas, we understand that foot problems can make it difficult to perform your daily activities. In some cases, calluses and bunions can be so painful that you have trouble just standing or walking.

We’re passionate about education and strive to help our patients understand various foot conditions and how they can prevent them from happening or treat them when they do occur. Our podiatrists Michael Tran, DPM, and Scott Floyd, DPM, answer some frequently asked questions about two common foot ailments: bunions and calluses

What is a bunion?

You have a large joint called a metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint at the outside of your big toe. When your big toe pushes inward, it shifts your bones out of place and creates a hard deformity called a bunion. 

You can get a bunion from an injury, ill-fitting shoes, or arthritis, but they’re typically hereditary.

How is a bunion treated?

Our doctors always choose the most conservative options first. They may recommend losing weight, changing your shoes, physical therapy, adding padding to your footwear, or avoiding high heels. If these efforts fail to relieve your bunion pain, your doctor may recommend a surgery called a bunionectomy.

What is a callus?

Unlike a bunion, which involves bone, a callus is simply an area of thickened skin. A callus usually forms in an area such as the sole of your foot that’s trying to protect itself from frequent rubbing, standing, friction, or pressure. 

While it may not be painful, you may not like the appearance of the callus and wish to have it removed.

How is a callus treated?

If your callus doesn’t hurt, there are some at-home remedies you can try, including:

If your callus doesn’t respond to gentle self-treatment or if you have diabetes, we recommend you come in for further evaluation. Your doctor performs a gait analysis, takes an X-ray, and asks questions to determine the underlying cause of the callus. 

Treatment may include cortisone injections, anti-inflammatory medications, or reduction and removal of the dead, hardened skin with a surgical scalpel. 

To get started with your foot evaluation to determine if you have a bunion or a callus, call the office closest to you or book your appointment online today.

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