A bunion is a painful bump on the side of the foot at the base of the big toe. This is where the joint of the big toe, called the metatarsophalangeal joint, meets the foot. Over time, conditions can cause this joint to build into a sore, bony protrusion. Calluses or corns can form on the bunion, adding to the discomfort, and the surrounding tissue may be red and swollen.
The most common cause of bunions is applying pressure to the foot over a long period of time by wearing shoes that don’t fit. Women that wear pointed dress shoes like high-heels are more likely to develop bunions. A hereditary factor is also present in the sense that the natural shape of the foot can be an added stressor. Other people likely to develop bunions are those that spend a majority of time on their feet, including athletes, postal workers, dancers, and so on. Advanced bunions can lead to bursitis, which is a inflammation of the watery sac or bursa that protects the joint. Arthritis can also develop as the big toe becomes inflexible, which makes walking very painful, as the big toe’s joint must bend with every step taken.
The signs and symptoms of a bunion could be a bulging bump on the outside of your big toe, swelling, redness or soreness around your big toe joint, thickening of the skin at the base of your big toe, or corns or calluses. Also a patient may experience restricted movement of their big toe. The pain of a bunion can range from mild to severe, often making it difficult to walk in normal shoes. The skin and deeper tissue around the bunion can also become swollen or inflamed. The bunion can be a result of pressure from your big toe pushing inward toward them.
Avoiding excessive walking and wearing loose and wider shoes or sandals can often relieve the irritating foot pain of bunions. Walking shoes may have some advantages, for example, over high-heeled styles that tug the big toe outward. Taking anti-inflammation medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen can help to ease inflammation as well as pain. Patients could also reduce tension on the inner part of the joint of a bunion by doing stretching exercises. Doctors sometimes recommend patients wear a bunion splint during the night, which can provide relief. If a patient has persisting pain then a surgical operation is considered, which can correct deformity and relieve pain. The procedure involves removing the bony growth of the bunion while realigning the big toe.
To help prevent bunions you must buy shoes with a wide toe, and women should avoid wearing high heels because there is a high risk of getting bunions. Also you should make sure your footwear fits properly. Your heel and arch should fit well so there is little pressure on your feet.