A bunion is a ‘bony bump’ seen at the joint of the base of the big toe. It usually occurs due to displacement of the other bones at the front of the foot, causing the big toe to be pulled towards to the smaller toes while moving the joint in the opposite direction causing it to protrude. This leads to redness and the feeling of the skin being sore over the protruding part of the joint.
A bunion is usually caused due to wearing very narrow and tight shoes. Wearing such shoes can also worsen the condition. It can also arise due to the shape of the foot, arthritis or a foot deformity. Smaller bunions can be observed at the joint of the little toe too.
What are the Symptoms of Bunions?
The symptoms of bunions are:
- Swelling, soreness, and redness at the outer part of the base of the big toe
- Calluses or corns where the first and second toes run against each other
- Limited movement observed of the big toe
When to See the Doctor?
Despite no requirement of medical assistance, you must immediately visit your doctor if you observe any of the following
- Chronic foot pain of the big toe
- Visible bump at the joint at the base of the big toe
- Decreased movement of the big toe
- Difficulty in finding shoes due to the bunion
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5 Easy Remedies for Bunions
If you are facing a bunion issue, and want to get rid of it, here are five easy remedies that are non-surgical to help you:
- Changing shoe type: Wearing comfortable shoes that provide plenty of breathing space for your toes.
- Shoe inserts: Padded shoe inserts help in evenly distributing the pressure while moving the feet. It would reduce your pain and redness.
- Padding: Bunion pads are readily available over-the-counter and greatly help control the pain caused by the bunion.
- Ice: Cold fomentation using ice can reduce the soreness, redness, and pain after you have been on your feet for a long time.
- Medications: Acetaminophen and ibuprofen can help relieve pain in extreme conditions. Your doctor may also advise cortisone injections as well.
What are the causes of bunions?
Despite many theories, no specific causes for bunions exist. Many factors can cause bunions, and few of the verified factors are:
- Hereditary foot type
- Foot Deformities
- Stress or injury to the foot
It is also associated with tight and high-heeled shoes and certain medical conditions such as arthritis.
What are the risk factors of bunions?
Various factors can increase the risk of having bunions. Some of these are:
- Ill-fitting shoes: Shoes that are too tight, narrow, or pointed would increase the chances of having a bunion.
- High heels: High heels force the toes towards the front causing the crowding of your toes, making it also one of the factors that increase the risk of bunions.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory condition and it can increase the chances of bunions.
- Heredity: You could also develop bunions if you have inherited the deformed anatomy of the foot.
What are the complications that arise due to bunions?
Bunions can cause a few complications, such as:
- Hammertoe: It is a condition characterized by a bend in the middle joint of the toe. This is usually the toe next to your big toe. This bend can cause a lot of pressure and pain to the toe.
- Bursitis: It is a painful medical condition when the small pads that cushion the bones start to swell.
- Metatarsalgia: This is a medical condition wherein the swelling and pain are observed at the ball of the foot.
How can you prevent bunions?
By choosing the right and comfortable type of shoes, you can save yourself to a large extent from having bunions. Avoid shoes with pointy toes. Also, prefer wearing only those shoes that provide breathing space for your feet and toes.
How to diagnose bunions?
A simple foot examination by your doctor can help identify bunions. He may also advise you to take an X-Ray of the foot that would give him a better picture of the condition and assist in treatment.
What are the treatment plans available for bunions?
Apart from the non-invasive remedies mentioned earlier, other treatment options are available depending on the severity and pain.
Your doctor would advise you a surgical procedure if you do not find relief using the simple methods mentioned above. These surgical procedures can be performed in one sitting or in a combination. These are:
- Removal of the inflamed tissue
- Straightening of the toe
- Realigning the other toes
- Joining the bones permanently.
A full recovery after such a procedure takes many weeks and sometimes months to recover.
You must keep your feet comfortable at all times. This especially includes your choice of footwear as they can greatly increase your risk of having bunions. Despite these precautions, if you still develop bunions you could resolve it to great extent by easy remedies that you can implement at home. In serious and chronic conditions, your doctor would surgically remove the bunion.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can bunions get worse?
Bunions are progressive by mature and do tend to get worse with time. But not all cases are alike and only in some cases does it get more severe. Nevertheless, taking proper care of your toes can help reduce the pace of the worsening.
When should I consider a surgical procedure?
You should consider a surgical procedure when your bunion makes it extremely difficult to carry out your daily activities. You should discuss the surgical plan with your doctor. Depending on the procedure, you can take a few weeks to a few months to recover
Is walking and running possible after a surgery?
In most cases, walking and running has been seen possible in patients who have undergone a surgery for the removal of a bunion. But it is advisable to not push yourself to allow the healing to be complete before moving into strenuous activities like before.