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What Are Bunions: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

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If you have ever experienced pain and swelling in your big toe, you may have a bunion. But what are bunions exactly? Bunions are a common foot deformity that can cause a lot of discomforts. If not treated, bunions can worsen and make walking difficult. In this article, we will discuss what bunions are, their symptoms, causes, and treatment.

What Are Bunions?

A bunion is a deformity of the big toe. It occurs when the big toe bends towards the second toe, causing a lump to form inside the foot. Pressure on the joints slowly causes bunions, which cause the big toe to lean toward the second toe.

Bunions happen when the bones of the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint, which are also called “toe knuckles,” move out of place. The big toe starts to lean toward the second toe over time.

Bunions are anatomical deformities of the foot that happen over the course of a few years when the MTP joint is constantly pressed and forced. This deformity will worsen over time, and it may hurt walking or wearing shoes.

Bunions can happen to anyone, but women are more likely to get them. According to Forbes, around 35% of women over the age of 65 are thought to have bunions. Tight shoes, especially high heels with pointy toes, can make bunions worse.

Types of Bunions

There are two types of bunions: hallux valgus and tailor’s bunion.

  • Hallux valgus: This is the most common type of bunion. It happens when the big toe leans toward the second toe. This type of bunion can be painful and make it hard to walk.
  • Tailor’s bunions: These are also called “bunions on the little toe,” and happen when the little toe leans toward the fourth toe. These types of bunions are not as common and not as painful as hallux valgus.

What Are the Causes of Bunions?

There are several factors that can contribute to the development of bunions. These include:

  • Wearing ill-fitting shoes – Shoes that are too tight or have high heels can put pressure on your toes and cause them to bend. As such, bunions are more common in women who wear high heels.
  • Being born with it – Bunions can be a hereditary condition, meaning it can be passed down from your parents.
  • Arthritis – This is a condition that causes inflammation in the joints. It can lead to deformities in the bones and joints, including bunions.
  • Trauma – An injury to the foot can also cause bunions.
  • Genetics – If bunions run in your family, you may be more likely to develop them.
  • Flat feet or low arches – This foot type puts more stress on the feet and can lead to bunions.
  • Neuromuscular disorders – These disorders, such as cerebral palsy, can cause weakness or imbalance in the muscles and joints, which can lead to bunions.
  • Professions that put a lot of pressure on the feet – Dancers, like ballerinas, are more likely to develop bunions because of the constant pressure on their feet.

What Are the Symptoms of Bunions?

A bunion may show a wide range of symptoms, although most include foot discomfort. The most typical symptom is discomfort while walking or wearing shoes. Both extremely minor and very severe bunions are possible. Repeated injuries and unsupportive footwear may make the deformity worse. What Are Bunions - symptoms

Other signs of a bunion, besides the visible bump on the inside of the foot, may include:

  • Calluses under the ball of the foot – As the big toe leans over, it may rub against the second toe. This can cause a callus to form on the bottom of the foot. 
  • Hammertoes – These are painful, tight toe tendons and joints.
  • Corns – These are areas of the skin that have been thickened by friction.
  • Inflammation and redness around the big toe – The skin around the big toe may become inflamed and red.
  • Pain in the big toe – The big toe may be painful and difficult to move.
  • Soreness and swelling around the big toe – The big toe may be tender to the touch. Bunions can also cause pain and swelling in the feet.

What Are the Treatment for Bunions?

Depending on how severe the bunion is, there are many treatment options. Some treatments might lessen discomfort and stop a bunion’s growth. There are also nonsurgical and surgical options available to treat bunions. 

Nonsurgical treatments for bunions include: What Are Bunions - nonsurgical

  • Wearing comfortable shoes – This is one of the best ways to prevent bunions or relieve symptoms. Look for shoes with a wide toe box and avoid high heels.
  • Padding and taping – There are over-the-counter bunion pads that can help cushion the area and reduce discomfort. You may also use medical tape to keep your foot in the right position. 
  • Taking over-the-counter pain relievers – Pain relievers sold in pharmacies can help reduce pain and inflammation on your foot.
  • Using ice packs – Applying ice to the bunion can also help with pain and swelling.
  • Wearing orthotic insoles – These devices, such as shoe inserts, help take pressure off the bunion.

What Are Bunions - surgicalSurgical treatments for bunions include: 

  • Bunionectomy – This is a surgery to remove the bunion. The surgeon will make an incision in your foot and cut away the bone that’s causing the bunion. Then, they’ll put the bones back into place with pins, screws, or plates.
  • Arthrodesis – This is a surgery to fuse together bones in your foot. The surgeon will make an incision in your foot and remove any damaged tissue. They’ll then place metal rods, wires, or screws in your bones to hold them together while they heal.
  • Osteotomy – This is a surgery to cut and realign bones in your foot. The surgeon will make an incision in your foot and cut the bone. They’ll then move the bone into its proper place and hold it there with screws, wires, or plates. 

After you’ve had bunion surgery, you’ll likely need to wear a cast or splint for several weeks. You might also need crutches to help you walk. Physical therapy may also be recommended to help improve your foot’s range of motion and strength.

Bunions can be painful and difficult to deal with. But many treatments are available to help relieve symptoms and even stop the deformity from worsening. If you have any concerns about bunions, talk to your doctor. They can help you create a treatment plan that’s right for you.

Get Bunions Custom Orthotics from NetStep

NetStep custom orthotics are designed to improve foot function and relieve symptoms associated with bunions. We can provide you with a custom-made orthotic that will help redistribute weight across your foot and take pressure off the bunion.

Our Bunions Custom Orthotics are perfect for keeping your feet in top condition. If you suffer from bunions, these therapeutic orthotics can help provide relief by cushioning and protecting your feet. They are custom-made to fit your feet perfectly and are durable enough to withstand daily wear and tear.

Get the relief you need to keep your feet healthy and happy!

Dr. Lewis

The #1 Orthotics On The Market

At NetStep™, we pride ourselves on being the leading orthotics provider in the world. We offer a wide range of products to meet the needs of all our customers, and our team of experts is always on hand to provide advice and support. Get the best possible care for your feet today. 

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