Bunions are painful bumps at the base of the big toe, primarily the result of hallux valgus, where the big toe deviates outward and tilts toward the second toe. Contributing factors for the formation of bunions include foot pronation, wearing tight shoes, injuries, osteoarthritis, and heredity. Bunions can cause pain, especially in narrow shoes, and may enlarge over time. Painful swelling caused by inflamed bursa under the toe often accompanies bunions and limits joint motion. Diagnosing bunions relies on symptoms and physical exams, such as X-rays, while joint fluid analysis rules out infectious arthritis or gout. Treatment options depend on the severity of the bunion. A podiatrist can guide you toward non-invasive treatment solutions, including orthotics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication, and corticosteroid injections to manage pain and inflammation. In severe cases, or when more conservative measures fail, surgical bunionectomy becomes an option. This procedure corrects joint alignment and removes the bunion. To determine the best treatment plan for your specific needs and taking into account the severity of your bunion, it is suggested that you make an appointment with a podiatrist.
What Is a Bunion?
A bunion is formed of swollen tissue or an enlargement of boney growth, usually located at the base joint of the toe that connects to the foot. The swelling occurs due to the bones in the big toe shifting inward, which impacts the other toes of the foot. This causes the area around the base of the big toe to become inflamed and painful.
Why Do Bunions Form?
Genetics – Susceptibility to bunions are often hereditary
Stress on the feet – Poorly fitted and uncomfortable footwear that places stress on feet, such as heels, can worsen existing bunions
How Are Bunions Diagnosed?
Doctors often perform two tests – blood tests and x-rays – when trying to diagnose bunions, especially in the early stages of development. Blood tests help determine if the foot pain is being caused by something else, such as arthritis, while x-rays provide a clear picture of your bone structure to your doctor.
How Are Bunions Treated?
- Refrain from wearing heels or similar shoes that cause discomfort
- Select wider shoes that can provide more comfort and reduce pain
- Anti-inflammatory and pain management drugs
- Orthotics or foot inserts