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What is the difference between hammer toes and corns?

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Quick Answer

Hammertoe is a condition in which tightening of the muscles and ligaments causes the middle joint of the toe to become stuck in a bent position, states WebMD. Corns are thickenings of the skin that can occur anywhere on the feet or toes, according to MedicineNet.

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Full Answer

Hammertoe can occur on any toe, according to WebMD. It is most common in women who regularly wear high heels. The two main types are flexible hammertoe, in which the toe can still be bent at the joint, and rigid hammertoe, in which the joint no longer bends. Hammertoes are caused by muscle imbalances that place increased pressure on the ligaments and tendons in the toe. Arthritis, genetics, injury to the toes and ill-fitting shoes are common causes.

Corns affect the skin of the toe or foot rather than the deep tissues, according to MedicineNet. Corns are similar to calluses, but they tend to have a more conical or circular shape. They are often annoying and painful, and they tend to form on areas of the foot that are placed under pressure by footwear that is too tight or that rubs against the skin. People over the age of 65 are more prone to corns than younger individuals. Those with abnormal gaits or abnormally shaped feet or toes are also at a higher risk of developing corns.

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