A bunion is a painful bony bump that forms on the joint at the base of the big toe. It is often caused by a misalignment of the bones in the foot. Learn about the causes, treatments, shoe/insert accommodations, and recommended shoe styles for bunions.
A bunion is a bony bump that forms on the joint at the base of the big toe. It occurs when the big toe joint shifts out of alignment, causing the toe to angle inward toward the other toes. Bunions are often painful, and can make it difficult to wear shoes. However, bunions are often painless in the early stages. As the bunion progresses, it can cause pain, redness, swelling, and difficulty wearing shoes.
In some cases, bunions can lead to other problems, such as:
- Deformity of the foot: As the bunion progresses, the big toe may become crooked and the other toes may be pushed out of alignment.
- Nerve pain: The bunion can put pressure on nerves in the foot, which can cause pain, numbness, and tingling.
- Skin problems: The bunion can cause skin irritation, which can lead to calluses, blisters, and infections.
The exact cause of bunions is unknown, but there are a number of factors that can contribute to their development, including:
- Genetics: Bunions can run in families, suggesting that there is a genetic component to their development.
- Footwear: Wearing shoes that are too narrow or have a pointed toe can put stress on the big toe joint and contribute to the development of bunions.
- Occupational factors: People who stand for long periods of time or who walk for long distances are more likely to develop bunions.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: This autoimmune disease can cause inflammation and joint damage, which can increase the risk of developing bunions.
Treatment for bunions may include:
- Shoe modifications: Wearing shoes that are wide enough and have a roomy toe box can help to reduce pressure on the big toe joint and relieve pain. Shoes with a wider toe box such as diabetic shoes, will give your toes more room to spread out and prevent the big toe from rubbing against the side of the shoe, which can cause pain and irritation. You may also want to consider wearing shoes with a low heel, as high heels can put more stress on the big toe joint.
- Bunion pads and splints: These devices can help to keep the big toe in a straight position and reduce pain. Bunion pads are small, cushioned devices that are placed over the bunion to reduce friction and pressure. Splints are devices that are worn at night to keep the big toe in a straight position.
- Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be necessary to correct the alignment of the bones in the foot and relieve pain. Surgery is usually only recommended for people who have severe bunions that cause significant pain and interfere with their daily activities. There are a number of different surgical procedures that can be performed for bunions, and the best procedure for you will depend on the severity of your bunion and your individual needs.
If you are considering surgery, it is important to talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of the procedure. Surgery is not always successful, and it can sometimes lead to complications, such as infection, stiffness, and nerve damage.There is no sure way to prevent bunions, but there are a number of things you can do to reduce your risk, including:
- Wear shoes that fit properly: Shoes that are too narrow or have a pointed toe can put stress on the big toe joint and contribute to the development of bunions.
- Avoid activities that put stress on your feet: If you stand for long periods of time or walk for long distances, try to take breaks to rest your feet.
- Lose weight if you are overweight or obese: Excess weight can put stress on your feet and increase your risk of developing bunions.
- Stretch your feet regularly: Stretching your feet can help to improve flexibility and reduce pain.
- Wide toe box: Shoes with a wide toe box will give your toes more room to spread out and prevent the big toe from rubbing against the side of the shoe, which can cause pain and irritation. All of our styles provide a roomy toe box.
- Wide width shoes: Bunions often cause the foot to widen, so it is important to find shoes that not just have a wide toe box, but are also the appropriate width for your foot.
- Low heel: High heels can put more stress on the big toe joint, so it is best to choose shoes with a low heel.
- Arch support: Good arch support can help to reduce pain and fatigue in the feet.
- Offload Mets (1st Rey): Offloading the affected aspects of the 1st digit can help alleviate some of the painful areas caused by bunions.
If you are unsure about whether or not your symptoms require medical attention, please consult your foot doctor.