A bunion, known medically as hallux valgus, is a bony deformity affecting the joint at the base of the big toe. This condition is characterized by the big toe angling outward towards the other smaller toes on the same foot. This deviation from the toe's natural alignment can lead to discomfort and pain, especially as it progresses. Bunions can manifest with various symptoms and associated issues. These may include pain, swelling, numbness, a burning sensation, or tingling around the bunion area. Footwear can exacerbate these symptoms, leading to discomfort. Additionally, hard, calloused, red, or painful skin may develop over the top of the bunion. Mobility can be restricted, with the big toe being particularly painful to move up and down. Bunions can also contribute to the development of hammertoes, corns, and calluses on the ball of the foot. These conditions can affect one's gait, causing instability while walking. Finding appropriate and comfortable shoes can become challenging due to the deformity and pain associated with bunions, further impacting daily activities and comfort. Orthotics cannot correct a bunion, but they can help with reducing pain in the big toe joint and slow its progression. Conditions such as flat feet can put more pressure on your bunion and wearing orthotics can redistribute that pressure. If you are experiencing pain from your bunion when walking or exercising, it is suggested that you make an appointment with a podiatrist to discuss the use of custom-made orthotics for increased comfort and function.
What Is a Bunion?
Bunions are painful bony bumps that usually develop on the inside of the foot at the joint of the big toe. As the deformity increases over time, it may become painful to walk and wear shoes. Women are more likely to exacerbate existing bunions since they often wear tight, narrow shoes that shift their toes together. Bunion pain can be relieved by wearing wider shoes with enough room for the toes.
- Genetics – some people inherit feet that are more prone to bunion development
- Inflammatory Conditions - rheumatoid arthritis and polio may cause bunion development
- Redness and inflammation
- Pain and tenderness
- Callus or corns on the bump
- Restricted motion in the big toe
In order to diagnose your bunion, your podiatrist may ask about your medical history, symptoms, and general health. Your doctor might also order an x-ray to take a closer look at your feet. Nonsurgical treatment options include orthotics, padding, icing, changes in footwear, and medication. If nonsurgical treatments don’t alleviate your bunion pain, surgery may be necessary.