A bunion is a foot disorder that affects the joint between your big toe and the rest of your foot. If your big toe is beginning to lean slightly inward toward your other toes, and a bump is beginning to grow on the outside edge of the big toe, then you may have a bunion.
Without treatment, bunions often get worse over time. They may not cause any symptoms or need medical treatment, but in some cases, they produce pain and affect your ability to walk. Though the bump is often all you can see from the outside, inside your foot the bones are actually changing. The big toe bone shifts and puts pressure on your other toes, and it can even develop a new growth of bone.
Women are far more likely to develop bunions than men, with nine of every 10 bunions occurring in women. Almost exclusively this results from the stiff, narrow and uncomfortable footwear that women often choose. Over time, shoes such as high heels can cause bunions and make them worsen.
Treatment of Bunions
If you have a bunion and you catch it early on, it’s usually treatable without surgery. The best approach is to make better footwear choices. Avoid high heels or shoes with a pointy, narrow toe box in favor of roomier, more comfortable shoes. This will prevent bunions and keep existing bunions from getting worse.
As a bunion progresses, it can get to the point where it causes extreme pain, affects your ability to walk and leads to other complications such as corns, calluses and hammertoes. If a bunion has advanced to the point where it affects quality of life, surgery may be needed to correct the bunion and straighten the big toe.
SOURCES: American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons; American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons