Bunions are a symptom of a progressive bone disorder. They appear as a bony bump at the base of the big toe joint. This bump occurs when some of the bones in the front part of your foot move out of place. This causes the tip of your big toe to get pulled toward the smaller toes and forces the joint at the base of your big toe to stick out. The skin over the bunion might be red and sore.
In some cases, the bump is painless. Over time, however, a bunion will cause the toes to crowd together. This can cause pain, and possibly a permanent deformity.
What Causes Bunions?
Pressure from the way you walk or the shape of your foot can cause your big toe to bend in toward the second toe. Bunions happen gradually over time. Standing for long periods and wearing ill-fitting, narrow shoes can make bunion pain worse, but they don’t cause the problem.
Some conditions that contribute to the development of bunions include flat feet, excessively flexible ligaments, and abnormal bone structure. Some experts believe shoes that don’t fit properly cause bunions, but others think shoes only worsen an existing structural problem.
Bunions might be associated with certain types of arthritis, particularly inflammatory types, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
What Are The Risk Factors for Bunions?
These factors might increase your risk of bunions:
- High heels. Wearing high heels forces your toes into the front of your shoes, often crowding your toes.
- Ill-fitting shoes. People who wear shoes that are too tight, too narrow or too pointed are more likely to develop bunions.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. Having this inflammatory condition can make you more likely to develop bunions.
- Heredity. The tendency to develop bunions might be the result of an inherited problem with the structure or anatomy of your foot.
What Are The Symptoms of Bunions?
The most common symptoms associated with this condition are pain on the side of the foot. Shoes will typically aggravate bunions. Other symptoms of bunions may include:
- A bulging bump on the outside of the base of your big toe.
- Swelling, redness, or soreness around your big toe joint.
- Corns or calluses – these often develop where the first and second toes rub against each other.
- Difficulty moving your big toe.
- Numbness in the big toe.
When To See A Podiatrist
Although bunions often require no medical treatment, see your doctor or a podiatrist if you have:
- Ongoing big toe or foot pain.
- A visible bump on your big toe joint.
- Decreased movement of your big toe or foot.
- Difficulty finding shoes that fit properly because of a bunion.
Bunions begin as small lumps. They get worse over time, however, causing pain and making walking difficult.
Possible complications of bunions include:
- Bursitis. This painful condition occurs when the small fluid-filled pads that cushion the bones near your joints become inflamed.
- Hammertoe. An abnormal bend that occurs in the middle joint of a toe, usually the toe next to your big toe, can cause pain and pressure.
- Metatarsalgia. This condition causes pain and swelling in the ball of your foot.
Talk To Dr. Ariel Lepoff
If you have ongoing big toe or foot pain, schedule an appointment with Dr. Ariel Lepoff at The Medical Group of South Florida for a comprehensive foot examination.
Dr. Lepoff’s services include bunions, hammertoes, heel pain, tendonitis, warts, calluses, sports injuries, foot and ankle fractures, ingrown toenails, wound care, neuromas, diabetic foot care, and so much more!