A bunion occurs when the joint at the base of your big toe becomes enlarged, sore and swollen. Your big toe may start to angle toward your second toe, or move underneath it. Women are more affected by bunions than men, but they can occur due to genetics or by wearing narrow, tight shoes or high heels.
Our Podiatrists at C.Q. Foot Clinic can diagnose a bunion during a physical exam. An X-ray may provide further information about the joint, the angle of the toe, and if arthritis, ligament or tendon involvement are concerns to further investigate.
Treatment depend on how much movement there is in the joint and how much and where it is hurting. Some people have no pain within the joint but the area gets sore from pressure, others suffer very bad pain within the joint from worn cartilage and misalignment.
Wearing comfortable shoes with a wide toe-box at the first signs of a bunion appearing can decrease its growth and reduce any further complications. Orthotic inserts can also help to change foot pressure causing bunions in some people. In cases when the bunion is causing severe pain, surgery may be performed to remove the bony bump and to realign the toe.
Ignoring a bunion will lead to increased pain and the chance of inflammatory bursitis, when a small fluid-filled sac next to the joint becomes inflamed. Depending on how severe your bunion is, your foot can become deformed and continue to cause chronic pain.
Corns and calluses may occur on the soles of the feet, in between toes and on the bunion joint due to extra pressure on these areas. Stiffness can occur at the big toe due to secondary arthritis, this is known as Hallux Rigidus.