A bunion is a small bony projection found at the joint of the toe on the foot. These are formed when the toe pushes against the other toes. This causes the joint to have an abnormal profile, which enlarges over a period of time. The big joint crowds the other toes of the foot resulting in pain. As the person walks, the body weight falls on this joint increasing the severity of pain. Wearing shoes and other foot wear can add to the stress and increase the chances of callous formation in the foot.
Bunions usually form in the early years and progresses with aging. In many cases, the condition is seen to be hereditary. One of the causes for the formation of bunions may be poor structure of the foot. It is also associated with arthritis in some people. Bunions are seen more commonly in women than in men. Wearing ill-fitting, tight shoes increases the chances of developing bunions. Foot injuries may also result in the formation of bunions.
Some of the common symptoms of bunions include:
- Bulging on the outside at the base of the big toe
- Swelling and redness at the toe joint
- Presence of corns and callouses
- Pain in the affected area
- Restricted movement of the big toe
People with bunions may find it difficult to walk comfortably with footwear. In some cases, the tissue in and around the area also might be affected by the presence of bunions. It is better to meet the doctor if walking becomes difficult or when the pain is persistent.
Bunions may not cause any problems in many cases. Surgery is the only permanent cure for these bony bumps. They can be complicated if the bursa in the joint is inflamed. This condition is very painful and may affect the routine activities. Bunions may grow bigger in size and consequently the pain also increases.
Some of the treatment options that focus on relieving the pain include:
- Shoe inserts – These help to spread the pressure uniformly across the foot while walking and provides considerable relief.
- Padding – Padding the foot in normal position helps to reduce the pain.
- Medications – Pain medications and cortisone injections are normally suggested to alleviate the pain.
- Wearing shoes that fit – Changing to comfortable shoes will help to take away the pressure from the bunions and relieve pain.
Surgery is the best treatment option for permanent relief from the bony bumps. In a surgical procedure, the swollen tissue around the joint is removed. The position of the toe is made straight, and the bones of the joint are permanently joined.