What is a bunion?
A bunion is a bony bump that forms at the joint at the base of your big toe. It forms when your big toe pushes against your next toe, forcing the joint of your big toe to get bigger and stick out. The skin over the bunion might be red and sore.
Wearing tight, narrow shoes can cause bunions and make them worse. Bunions also can develop as a result of an inherited structural defect, stress on your foot or a medical condition, such as arthritis.
Smaller bunions (bunionettes) can develop on the joint of your little toe.
Causes and risk factors
Bunions occur more commonly in women and can run in families. Wearing narrow-toed, high-heeled shoes can also lead to the development of a bunion. The condition may become painful overtime.
A doctor can usually diagnose a bunion just with a physical exam and looking at it. A foot x-ray can show an abnormal angle between the big toe and the foot and, in some cases, arthritis.
When a bunion first begins to develop, take good care of your feet and wear wide-toed shoes. This can often solve the problem and prevent the need for any further treatment. It may help to wear felt or foam pads on the foot to pad, protect and cushion the bunion, or devices called spacers to separate the first and second toes. You can also try cutting a hole in a pair of old, comfortable shoes to wear around the house.
If the joint become inflamed, sometimes injections or NSAIDS may be prescribed.
In some cases orthotics may help to reposition the foot to help reduce pain and slow down the progression of the bunion deformity.
If the bunion continues to get worse — resulting in severe deformity or pain — surgery to realign the toe and remove the bony bump (bunionectomy) can be effective.