A bunion is a painful bony bump that develops on the inside of the foot at the big toe joint. Bunions are often referred to as Hallux Valgus.
Over time, the normal structure of the bone changes, resulting in the bunion bump. It forms when your big toe pushes against your next toe, forcing the joint of your big toe to get bigger and stick out.
Cause of Bunions
There are many theories about how bunions develop, but the exact cause is unknown. But some factors of having bunions are:
- Wearing poorly fitting shoes (shoes with a narrow, pointed toe box that forces the toes into an unnatural position)
- Having an inflammatory condition, such as rheumatoid arthritis, or a neuromuscular condition, such as polio
- Heredity – some people inherit feet that are more likely to develop bunions due to their shape and structure
- A callus or corn on the bump
- Pain and tenderness
- Hardened skin on the bottom of the foot
- Stiffness and restricted motion in the big toe, which may lead to difficulty in walking
- Redness and inflammation
How to Prevent Bunions?
- Exercising the feet can strengthen them. Learn to pick up small objects, like a pencil or pebble, with your toes.
- Keep track of the shape of your feet as they develop over time, especially if bunions run in your family.
- Women should avoid shoes with high heels or pointed toes.
- Your shoes should conform to the shape of your feet without squeezing or pressing any part of your foot.
- Bursitis. This painful condition occurs when the small fluid-filled pads (bursae) that cushion bones, tendons and muscles near your joints become inflamed.
- Metatarsalgia. This condition causes pain and inflammation in the ball of your foot.
- Hammertoe. An abnormal bend that occurs in the middle joint of a toe, usually the toe next to your big toe, can cause pain and pressure.
How to Relieve Pain and Pressure on the Joint?
- Take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen.
- Use warm soaks, ice packs, Whirlpool, ultrasound, and massage.
- Maintain a normal weight.
- Protect the bunion with moleskin or gel-filled pad, which you can buy at a drugstore.
- Under a doctor’s guidance, wear a splint at night to hold the toe straight and ease discomfort.
When is the right time for surgery?
If your bunion is causing pain, your podiatrist may recommend surgery. Bunions can also result in other painful foot problems, such as hammertoes and bursitis.
The goal of surgery is to return the big toe to its correct position. A surgeon puts bones, ligaments, tendons, and nerves back into the correct order, and removes the bump.