What is a bunion?
A bunion is a painful bump on the side of the big toe joint. This is one of the most common conditions treated by podiatrists. It’s often associated with poorly fitted footwear or tight dress shoes and high heels.
The bump is located on the side of the first of the long bones (metatarsals) down the inside of the foot, near the big toe. Sometimes, the great toe will overlap the second toe.
Causes of bunions
Bunions can develop when abnormal foot structure or poor support places an extra load on the first metatarsal bone of the foot. This extra pressure can cause ligaments to stretch and pull, causing the gradual development of a bunion.
Symptoms of bunions
Symptoms of a bunion may include the following:
- Pain on the side of the foot near the big toe
- Redness or swelling on the side of the foot near the big toe
- A visible bump on the side of the big toe
- Corns between the first and second toes due to additional rubbing in this area
If you are exhibiting any of these symptoms, you should seek help from a medical professional immediately.
Conservative approaches are taken first to treat bunions, including:
- Modified footwear
- Padding and inserts for footwear
- Functional orthotics to reduce pressure in the affected area
If conservative approaches aren’t alleviating the symptoms, or if the condition is too severe to consider starting with conservative approaches, surgery may be required.
Before surgery, the podiatrist will review foot X-rays, the severity of the condition, patient medical history, and patient goals. Surgery generally aims to remove the painful bump and realign the great toe joint.