The bottom and side of the big toe is generally the location where a bunion develops. It is considered to be a deformity and can appear for a variety of reasons. These can include genetic factors, and wearing shoes that do not have enough room for the toes to move freely in. Additionally, existing medical conditions such as gout or rheumatoid arthritis may cause a bunion to develop. If the bunion is mild relief may be found when orthotics are worn, or when the bunion is covered with a protective pad. Severe bunions may require surgery to correct them permanently. If you notice signs of a small bump on the side of the big toe, please confer with a podiatrist as quickly as possible. Early treatment can slow down or stop a bunion's progression.
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