A bunion is a bone deformity of the big toe joint. Bunions form when the big toe moves out of alignment. This is a gradual process, and the enlarged joint and 'bump' cause friction and pressure when rubbed against your shoes. As the big toe angles inwards towards the lesser toes, you may get overlapping of smaller toes and develop hammertoes and clawed toe deformities.
Many people with bunions experience pain from the constant irritation, rubbing, and friction of the bunion against their shoes. The skin over the joint becomes red and tender. Because your big toe joint bends with each step, the pain can progressively become worse as the bunion grows. Bursitis and arthritis may later appear in addition to thicker skin (callus) under the foot, making everyday walking intolerable. This can lead to chronic bunion pain.
Tight fitting, unsupportive shoes are highly linked to the cause of bunions. It's one reason women suffer from bunions more than men. Bunions are also familial, and other members of your family may also suffer from bunions, especially if you share similar faulty foot mechanics. Foot injuries, flat feet and medical conditions (e.g. Rheumatoid arthritis) can also contribute to bunion formation.
Treatment for Bunions
Since bunions are a bone deformity, they are unlikely to resolve on their own. Treating your bunions involved relieving any pressure and pain caused by footwear irritation and then focus on preventing the bunion from worsening. Some standard treatment and prevention options include protective padding, removing any callus or corns, wearing shoes with proper amounts width and depth, using orthotics to correction faulty foot mechanics, mobility exercises, taping and using night splints daily.
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Sometimes conservative care for bunions is not enough. If the bunions become too large, the pain is chronic and persistent and affects your mobility, surgery may be your next step. A bunionectomy (bunion surgery) may be advised to remove the bunion and realign the affected toe. Consulting an orthopedic surgeon is highly recommended if you're considering surgery.