A bunion is a bony growth that forms at the base of the big toe. Because of their location, bunions can make walking and moving about uncomfortable. In this blog, the providers at Washington Foot & Ankle Sports Medicine explain what causes bunions, their signs and symptoms, and the treatment options.
What causes bunions?
Bunions form when the big toe presses in toward the second toe. Over time, this constant pressure can cause the toe to get out of alignment and result in a bony growth on the outside of the toe.
People can have a genetic propensity to developing bunions, but wearing tight shoes can also cause bunions to form or make them worse. Bunions can also have a higher chance of developing due to the shape of the foot, a foot deformity, or a medical condition, such as arthritis.
Signs and symptoms of bunions
Bunions nearly always form on the big toe, although in some cases they can form on the smallest toe. The most obvious sign is the bony lump, which forms at the joint between the first and second bones.
This bony lump will stick out from your toe and may rub against your shoes. In this case, you may develop calluses on the bunion as well. Some other common signs and symptoms of bunions include the following:
- Pain, especially while walking
- Soreness or tenderness, especially when touching it
When you have a bunion on your foot, it may also change the way you walk as you try to avoid putting pressure on the toe.
Bunions can have several causes, and treatment can vary accordingly.
In many cases, bunions are caused by wearing tight shoes that pinch the toes, such as high heels. In these cases, switching to flat shoes that allow more room for your toes is a good place to start.
In addition to making sure that you’re wearing the most appropriate type of shoes, you can also try the following methods for relief:
- Using bunion pads in your shoes to alleviate the pressure
- Using ice compresseses
- Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Advil
The podiatrists at Washington Foot & Ankle Sports Medicine may also recommend getting a custom orthotic device for your shoes to take pressure off of the bunion and help realign your joint.
In some cases, your podiatrist might recommend bunion surgery to realign the joint. This is a procedure performed in the office.
If you have a bunion, especially if you’re beginning to notice one in its early stages, getting proper treatment is essential. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Washington Foot & Ankle Sports Medicine today.