First of all, what is a bunion? A bunion is a large bump on the side of your foot. The bump is actually a visible sign of a change in the framework in the front part of the foot. With a bunion, the big toe is deviated. It is forced inward, toward the second toe, actually changing the alignment of the bones in the foot and producing that prominent bump on the side known as a bunion.
So how do you get one and is it something that can be prevented?
A bunion isn't anything terrible and it's not caused from doing anything wrong. Wearing inappropriate shoes can make bunions worse or can cause you to feel the symptoms of a bunion earlier, but they don't actually cause bunions. Often a bunion is inherited. We inherit our foot shape and type just like we inherit eye color or the shape of our nose. Our foot shape and type can make us prone to developing bunions, so it is not actually the bunion that is inherited, the but the type of foot you have inherited that makes you more prone to the disorder.
It is easy to tell if you have a bunion since you can actually see the bunion on the side of the foot or the base of the big toe. It is a progressive disorder, meaning the changes in your foot are gradual and over the years, the bunion becomes worse and increasingly noticeable. It is usually apparent, since the prominence of the bunion is quite obvious. However, you still need to be evaluated by a podiatrist. Since bunions are progressive, they will not just go away on their own but continue to get worse, some more quickly than others.
Something most people don't know is that a bunion doesn't always cause pain. Some people never even have symptoms. If they do, they usually don't appear until the later stages of the disorder. If you do you have pain with a bunion it is usually brought on by wearing shoes that cramp the toes. If that happens, you may have pain or soreness, which sometimes restricts movement of the toe, at the sight of the bunion. You may even have sores between your toes or calluses on your big toe. You may have a burning feeling at the bunion site after you put pressure on it or have ingrown toenails on the big toe. Some people even experience numbness, but that is usually in more serious cases.
Women are more likely to have these symptoms than men. This may be because women wear high heels, which typically have a tight toe box and cramp the toes.
If you are having problems with a big toe joint: the shape of it, the bump, or you don't like the appearance, those are things that need to be looked at.
A podiatrist can take an x-ray and evaluate the shape of the bone. You can discuss your treatment options with your doctor. Sometimes podiatrists put people suffering from bunions in different shoes, which is very important in avoiding bunion pain. Doctors may also recommend bunion pads, which can be obtained from your doctor or purchased at drug stores, or put inserts or custom orthotic devices into the shoe to make the patient bear weight a little differently, taking the pressure off of the bunion. It is recommended that you avoid standing for long periods of time or doing any activities that cause bunion pain. In some cases, surgery may be needed. Surgery is a great option for bunions. There are a variety of surgical procedures that can be performed to help with bunion pain and recent advances have it made it possible to operate on bunions with a very high success rate. Sometimes, when bunion pain is interfering with your daily activities, surgery is the best option to get you back to walking pain free.