A bunion is a condition in which the big toe points inward toward the other toes, causing an abnormal fluid filled bursa (bump) to appear on the joint on the outside of the big toe. Bunions are believed to be caused by both genetic factors and from the long-term wear of narrow, tight shoes that force the big toe to deviate from its normal position. Bunions typically affect women, and are often blamed on wearing high heels. Besides the apparent bump on the big toe, sufferers of bunions have symptoms of swelling, redness, thick skin around the big toe, corn or calluses, pain and restricted range of motion of the big toe. If the big toe deviates toward the other toes long enough, crowding can result, causing the other toes to become bent leading to a condition called hammertoe. Although bunions typically don’t require medical intervention, if the pain becomes persistent enough treatment options are available.
Buying a pair of comfortable shoes that are roomy enough to accommodate a bunion can easily reduce pain. If necessary, shoe inserts can also be purchased to add an extra layer of cushion to evenly distribute pressure and prevent the bunion from getting worse.
Genesis Orthopedics & Sports Medicine may suggest the use of padding or taping the bunion to provide a cushion and alleviate pain.
When all other treatment options have produced minimal results, a bunionectomy can be performed. A bunionectomy is a procedure in which an incision is made on the top of the foot and the fluid-filled bursa is removed. The bone of the big toe is then shortened and straightened back to its normal position.