A bunion is easy to notice. It is classified as a deformity and is a bony protrusion on the side of the big toe. It can develop as a result of genetic factors or from wearing shoes that are too tight in the toe area. Research has shown it affects approximately 35% of people who are over 65 years old and may affect their quality of life if not promptly treated. The medical term for a bunion is called hallux valgus and happens when the first long bone of the foot meets the first bone of the toe. When this moves out of alignment, a bunion has formed. It often develops slowly and if it becomes severe it may shift the other toes toward each other. Flexibility and range of motion may negatively affect the foot, and the skin may become irritated. Some patients experience foot injuries, and this may lead to the development of a bunion. Additionally, existing medical conditions including flat feet and rheumatoid arthritis may increase the risk of getting a bunion. If you have noticed a bunion on your foot, it is strongly suggested that you are under the care of a podiatrist who can determine what the best course of treatment is for you, which may include surgery for permanent removal.
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.