Bunions are bony deformities of the big toe joint. They are unattractive, are a common affliction, and can affect people of all ages. Medically, bunions are referred to as hallux valgus. The metatarsal bones in the foot fan out from the base near the ankle to each toe and the distance between them increases as they approach the toes. With bunions, the distance and angle at the base, between the first and second metatarsals, increases over time and a bump develops on a big toe joint. The foot widens and the deformed big toe joint presses uncomfortably against shoes. Pressure from shoes pushes the big toe towards the smaller toes, which emphasizes the bulge on the side of the foot. As time passes, the second toe can lie on top of the big toe and calluses and corns can develop on the toes, leading to further distortion and pain. Walking can also become problematic. If bunions are not tended to, arthritis can develop. It is not just shoes that contribute to bunion formation. Genes, gait, and being female can add to a propensity toward bunions. Wearing narrow-toed shoes or high heels for a prolonged time should be avoided because these types of shoes force the weight down to the ball of the feet and push the toes together. Insoles or orthotics can help and surgery for permanent removal may be an option. If you have a bunion or notice that one may be forming, it is suggested that you consult with a podiatrist who can give you advice and offer treatment options.
What Is a Bunion?
Bunions are painful bony bumps that usually develop on the inside of the foot at the joint of the big toe. As the deformity increases over time, it may become painful to walk and wear shoes. Women are more likely to exacerbate existing bunions since they often wear tight, narrow shoes that shift their toes together. Bunion pain can be relieved by wearing wider shoes with enough room for the toes.
- Genetics – some people inherit feet that are more prone to bunion development
- Inflammatory Conditions - rheumatoid arthritis and polio may cause bunion development
- Redness and inflammation
- Pain and tenderness
- Callus or corns on the bump
- Restricted motion in the big toe
In order to diagnose your bunion, your podiatrist may ask about your medical history, symptoms, and general health. Your doctor might also order an x-ray to take a closer look at your feet. Nonsurgical treatment options include orthotics, padding, icing, changes in footwear, and medication. If nonsurgical treatments don’t alleviate your bunion pain, surgery may be necessary.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our offices located in Plainville, Marlborough, and Somerset, MA . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.