What is a bunion?

A bunion is a structural deformity of the bones in your foot. It affects the big toe joint and causes a bump to develop on the side of the foot. The big toe will then deviate towards the other toes. In turn, the base of the big toe pushes the 1st metatarsal bone (the bone located behind your big toe) outward resulting in a bunion deformity. This similar process can occur to the 5th metatarsal and the pinky toe resulting in a tailor’s bunion or bunionette. This can essentially unbalance the natural walking pattern and result in the development of calluses along the side or ball of the foot.

What causes a bunion?

Bunions may be caused by wearing tight, ill fitting shoes especially high heels and pointed shoes. For many others, heredity plays an important factor as well. Arthritis can also be a factor that causes bunions to form.

Signs and Symptoms:

A bump may often times be seen at the base of the big toe on the outside of the foot. Redness, swelling and pain can be present as well. A callus may form on the side or bottom of the affected foot. Sometimes the 2nd toe may overlap the bunion deformity causing a hammertoe and a corn. The range of motion within the big toe joint may become diminished or absent. People may experience pain in the ball of their feet or a bursitis at the joint from inflammation. Bunions are permanent and require a thorough examination to identify the severity of the deformity with the use of an x-ray. Sometimes surgery is required to correct the underlying deformity. Some non-surgical treatments are available intending to alleviate the pain while performing daily activities.