Calluses and corns are another common cause of foot pain. They are actually patches of thickened skin caused by friction or pressure. Calluses appear on the balls of the feet or on the heels while corns will appear on the toes. Calluses are caused by an accumulation of dead skin cells. In severe cases, the callus has a deep seated core called a nucleation. This type of callus is exceptionally painful. Corns are similar to calluses as they are also thickened patches of dead skin cells which have formed as a protective mechanism against pressures on the foot. Corns however are found on the toes. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune ( the afflicted person's immune system, which normally protects against germs such as bacteria and viruses, treats the afflicted person's own body, particularly the joints, as if it were an invader.) disease that affects the whole body but which has specific manifestations in the foot. Many joints in the body may be affected , particularly the joints of the hands and feet. Symptoms may consist of morning stiffness (usually lasting more than 30 minutes), pain, swelling and deformity of multiple joints. The disease is characterized by periodic flare-ups and periodic remissions. The deformity and disability gets worse with time. Symptoms of bunions include the common signs of inflammation such as redness,swelling, and pain. The discomfort is primarily located along the inside ofthe foot just behind the big toe. Because of friction, a callus may develop over the bunion. If an overlapping of the toes is allowed, additional rubbingand pain occurs. Inflammation of this area causes a decrease in motion with associated discomfort in the joint between the big toe and the first metatarsal. If allowed to worsen, the skin over the bunion may break down causing an ulcer, which also presents a problem of potential infection. Sometimes doctors speak a different language. I am flying home after taking part in a lecture series at the podiatry school in Oakland, CA. There were 4 speakers from prestigious teaching hospitals lecturing to an audience of 2nd year medical students. I enjoy listening to my friends lecture, but as I looked at the audience it was a sea of blank expressions. It was like the lecture was in a foreign language and the interpreter had taken a break. I suddenly realized that the lectures and slides were complicated surgeries and doctor talk. These students have been in a classroom for 2 years working in the science of medicine. Bunions are one of the most familiar foot problems. Bunions are often reported as a bump on the side of the big toe. Bunions most usually affect women. Bunions happen nearly 10 times more often in women then men. The large toe may turn in toward the second toe (angulation), and the tissues surrounding the joint may be swollen and fragile. Bunions cause from inflammation and thickening of the bursa (fluid-filled sac in the connective tissue) and abnormal bone composition and misalignment of the toe. Bunions may be caused by taut, pointy-toed, or high-heeled shoes, and shoes that are too small.