Bunions are bony protrusions at the base of the big toe and are more than just a foot concern as they can impact daily comfort and mobility. Medically known as hallux valgus, bunions develop gradually as the top of the big toe leans toward the second toe, causing the joint to jut out. Genetics play a role, as does wearing improper footwear, like high heels. The constant pressure and friction can exacerbate the misalignment, leading to pain and inflammation. Bunions are not uncommon. They affect a substantial portion of the population, and women tend to be more prone due to footwear choices. Recognizing the early signs like swelling, redness, and discomfort, can prompt proactive measures. Seeking advice from a podiatrist and opting for appropriate footwear can alleviate symptoms and potentially slow down the progression of bunions. If you have developed a bunion, it is strongly suggested that you are under the care of a podiatrist who can offer you preventive, relief, and treatment options.
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