What is Bunions?

A bunion is a painful, bony deformity that protrudes from the inside of a patient’s foot at the joint of their big toe. Bunions develop slowly and occur when the bone structure of the big toe has been altered, leading to the characteristically painful red bump. 

The alteration of the big toe bone structure happens when the bones that make up its middle joint (the metatarsophalangeal or MTP) become misaligned. 

A severe bunion may force the big toe to be pointed directly at the other toes of the foot and can be exacerbated by tight-fitting footwear. 

So this causes the tip of your big toe to get pulled toward the smaller toes, forcing the joint at the base to stick out. They can form on one or both feet and is a very common condition in older adults.

Smaller bunions can develop on the first joint of your little toe, and it’s also called bunionettes or Tailor’s bunion. 

Causes

The causes of this condition are actually unknown, but there are a few theories about how it develops. But the factors may include:

  • Foot type;
  • Stress and injuries;
  • Deformities presented at birth. 

There are a lot of disagreements on whether the type of shoes may cause or contribute to the bunion’s development. 

But there are some risk factors that may increase your changes to developing bunions, such as: 

  • Heredity: there’s a tendency to develop bunions as a result of inherited problems with the structure and/or anatomy of your foot. 
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: having this inflammatory condition may make you more likely to develop bunions. 
  • Shoes: even with the disagreements, high-heeled, tight or narrow shoes may help the bunions to occur. 

There are any complications with bunions? 

People with bunions may have some complications, such as:

  • Bursitis: a painful condition that happens when the fluid-filled pads that cushion the bones become inflamed. 
  • Hammertoe: an abnormal bend that occurs in the middle join of the toe, usually on your second, third and fourth toes. 
  • Metatarsalgia: a condition that causes pain in the ball of your foot. 

Treatments

We at Pathak Podiatry know that living with bunions can be life-changing, difficult, and above all else, painful. During a comprehensive one-on-one consultation, we’ll identify the exact root of your problem by analyzing the way you walk and stand. 

We’ll also look at what type of shoes you wear on a daily basis, and pinpoint the exact area you’re experiencing pain so we can address it immediately. 

By utilizing X-rays and cutting-edge technology and procedures, we provide a targeted treatment that will put you back on the path to pain-free mobility.

  • Shield the bunion with a protective gel pad or moleskin, which we can help you obtain;
  • Utilize shoe inserts to help properly align your foot. These inserts can be prescribed via our clinic, or more generic ones can be bought over-the-counter;
  • After consultation with our clinic, we can provide a splint that keeps your big toe straight while sleeping at night;
  • Ultrasound, ice packs, warm compress, and massage may alleviate pain or discomfort;
  • Anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen can help reduce swelling;
  • Wear footwear that provides ample space within the toe area of the shoe.

The most common signs and symptoms of bunions

Including redness and swelling, other signs and symptoms are the inability to bend the toe and pain and burning when trying to bend. 

Also corns and calluses, hammertoes, numbness and the difficulty of wearing regular shoes. 

Your care providers will diagnose a bunion when looking at it, and can also get x-rays to check the joint damage as well. 

 

Contact us right now and start your bunion treatment!

Top view of bare feet of older woman suffering from hallux valgus

FAQ

Is surgery ever needed for Hammertoe?

Hammertoe rarely requires surgery. However, if treatment is delayed or neglected, there could be further damage. This would then require surgical repair. So don’t ignore your pain and come see us!

What are the causes of Hammertoe?

As the toes contract they may become permanently bent in a flexed position. This deformity often causes pain when wearing closed toe shoes when the bent toe begins to rub against the top of the shoe.