Bunions are another story altogether, except that wearing ill-fitting shoes can also be (and often are) the cause. The technical name for a bunion is “hallux valgus.” If you have a lump or bump on the inside edge of your foot around the big toe, especially one that’s red, swollen, or hurting, you probably have a bunion. Another telltale sign is the direction your big toe points. If your big toe is angling inward and the joint is jutting outward, you’re probably looking at a bunion. A LO-ONG time ago, I wrote a post about my bunions. Click here to check out what they looked like a couple years ago. Boxing’s relationship to the public, and in turn the public’s relationship to boxing, has changed dramatically over the decades. When fights first appeared on TV in the 1950s, it increased the sport’s visibility but shuttered the fight clubs where local talent was nurtured. That trend was exacerbated when Las Vegas became the venue of choice and New York City, the former Mecca of Boxing, became little more than a boxing backwater, victim to the big money roiling the desert. Roller-skating, ice-skating, bingo and boxing also graced the hallowed hall. During the Great Depression, dance marathons, also known as “bunion derbies” and “corn and callous carnivals,” were a regular occurrence. You can treat hammer, claw, and mallet toes at home by wearing footwear with lots of room for your toes, using pads and supports in the shoe, and doing toe exercises. Doing these things will give the toe room to straighten, cushion the toe and hold it straight, and make the toe muscles stronger and more flexible. You can use over-the-counter medicine to treat pain. If your pain is too great or you cannot easily do daily activities, then surgery is possible. But there is not much research on surgeries for these toe problems. Talk to your doctor about the types of surgeries and how much they may help you. Corns and calluses are a thickening of the skin due to increased pressure or friction. A corn or callus usually occurs over a bony prominence such as a contracted toe, hammer toe or bunion. Some other factors that may cause a corn or callus to develop are poor fitting shoes or socks and activities that increase stress/pressure on the foot such as athletic events. When corns and calluses become painful there are several non-surgical options for treatment. Non-medicated corn pads or callus pads , bunion pads, hammer toe cushions, foot files, pumice stones and exfoliating creams are all options to help alleviate the pain associated with corns and calluses. There are various conservative methods of treating bunions and hammertoes. Wearing a more accommodative pair of shoes can help, though this is not practical for everyone. P ads placed over the area of the deformity may help minimize pain. Splinting devices might assist temporarily. Orthotic devices can be used to slow or prevent the progression of a bunion. Also, anti-inflammatory medications and injection therapy are a sure way to alleviate the pain and swelling associated with a bunion or hammertoe. However, none of these treatments can actually reverse a bunion deformity. Callouses have a tendency to cover a wider area although are not as deep as a corn. Corns, on the other hand, are smaller in diameter but are deeper and are usually more painful. The latter will develop over bony prominences (think outside of the pinky toe) while the former over an area that has more padding (think heels or ball of the foot). Some calluses have a deep seated core known as a nucleation, which is especially painful with pressure. This particular condition is referred to as an Intractable Plantar Keratosis or IPK for short. Here are some general guidelines to keep in mind. Avoid shoes that are too tight and shoes that are too loose. Tight shoes compress your foot causing unnecessary pressure. Loose shoes allow the shoe to rub back and forth against your foot – a repetitive motion that causes patches of hard, dry skin to form as the foot attempts to protect itself. Avoid wearing shoes without socks, even if it’s just a quick trip to the grocery store. Socks are there to protect your feet from friction! And beware of ill-fitting socks or socks with large seams that can also be a source of rubbing.