Bunions are a cosmetic abnormality that occur when the bone or the tissue around the toe joint becomes enlarged. While not always painful, bunions can cause a lot of discomfort, especially if the person affected wears tighter shoes. In other case, bunions may be very painful and swollen and require medical attention.
While bunions commonly affect the big toe, they can also affect your pinky toe. These are called bunionettes.
How do I Get a Bunion?
Bunions develop slowly so it could be a number of factors that affect whether or not you get one. However, you are more likely to get one if:
It runs in the family
You have a foot shape that puts more pressure on the big toe joint
Your foot rolls inward when you walk
You have flat feet
You wear improperly fitted shoes, especially ones that are too tight
What are the symptoms of a bunion?
As mentioned before, your bunion may not be causing you any pain or problems, and therefore no symptoms other than a outwards bulge from your big toe. If you do experience symptoms, they may present in the following ways:
Red skin at the site of the bunion
Swelling of the big toe
How are bunions diagnosed?
Bunions are fairly easy to spot, but you may still have to undergo tests to see if there are any underlying foot problems. Your podiatrist will ask you various questions related to your pain level and discomfort and then go from there. They may ask you to stand to see where your foot bears the most weight and if it is affected the joint in question. Bunions are very recognizable in this state.
However, an x-ray or blood test may be recommended to rule out anything else that may cause swelling and joint pain. A few culprits include:
How are bunions treated?
As it currently stands, there is not one singlular cure for bunions. Anti-inflammatories seem to be the best option to relieve the pressure and pain. Proper fitted shoes or shoes with orthotics inserted into your everyday shoes may help lessen the discomfort as well.
For major cases, corrective surgery may be required in the pain doesn’t go away. Talk to your podiatrist about your options.
How can I prevent bunions?
The only way to prevent bunions is to take proper care of your feet and wear properly fitted shoes. Be sure to pick a shoe that has room around the toes, as well as good arch support. As mentioned above, orthotics to help your foot feel secure and safe in your shoes are also an option.