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Bunions, Corns & Calluses

A bunion is a prominent bump on the inside of the foot on the big toe joint. Corns are a localized, tender, sharply defined area of thickened skin over a bony prominence usually caused by trauma. They sometimes have a central cone-shaped core whose point can press on a nerve below causing pain. Calluses are an accumulation of dead skin cells that harden and thicken over an area of the foot. They are the body's defense mechanism against excessive pressure and friction. Calluses are normally found on the bottom of the foot, the heel and the inside of the big toe.

Bunions, corns, and calluses are common foot ailments associated with improperly fitted footwear. Birkenstock has many products that can help with bunions, corns, and calluses. Please contact your local Birkenstock retailer for their healthy footwear recommendations.


Bunions are 10 times more common in women than men and often “run in the family”. A person with a bunion may have inflammation, swelling and soreness on the side surface of the big toe. Numbness and tingling may occur from the pressure created on the nerve in the big toe. Corns will most likely be seen ion the top or sides of the toes and often will be tender and cone shaped. Calluses will appear where the foot is subject to high pressure and will be a thick hardened patch of skin.

Causes/Risk Factors:

Bunions, corns and calluses can all be caused by tight and/or poorly fitting footwear. Each can also be caused by the following:


  • Flat feet or over-pronation leading to increased pressure on the big toe joint
  • Footwear that is too narrow and/or too short
  • Constrictive shoes in the toe boxes area
  • Footwear with a tapered toe box not only can cause bunions but can also cause them to worsen to the point of needing surgery to repair


  • Footwear with elevated heels or tight-fitting footwear, stockings or socks
  • The foot sliding forward in a loose-fitting shoe
  • Bony prominences
  • Toe deformities


  • Excessive pressure on a specific area of the foot
  • Footwear with elevated heels and/or shoes that are too small
  • Flat feet, high-arched feet, excessive weight, and loss of the fat pad on the bottom of the foot

Prevention & Treatment:

Ask your health care professional (physician, physical therapist, podiatrist etc.) to help you find the best answers as to what is causing your pain. You can reduce the risk and discomfort of these conditions by following some simple guidelines:


  • Wear footwear with a wide toe box which will decrease pressure on the big toe joint
  • Avoid heeled footwear which places more pressure on the forefoot
  • Wear footwear or arch supports that offer good medial and metatarsal arch support to decrease pressure on the big toe region
  • Substitute to activities such as walking or swimming (ie. instead of running) to decrease symptoms and stress on the forefoot
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • If the bunion is in an early stage, soaking your feet in warm water may provide temporary relief

Corns & Calluses

  • Avoid heeled footwear which places more pressure on the forefoot
  • Wear footwear or arch supports which provide proper support and aid in weight distribution
  • If the soft corn is between the toes, wear toe separators
  • If it is a hard corn, wear a corn pad
  • Gently use foot buffer after bathing to reduce the thickness of calluses


Many health care professionals recommend Birkenstocks for the relief of pain associated with the following conditions:

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