What are Bunions?

What Are Bunions? What To Look For And When To Call A Podiatrist

A bunion is caused from a bone in your foot that slowly migrates out to the side creating the bump you see by your big toe. There is a nerve that runs along the side of your foot over the bone so as the bone becomes more prominent, the nerve is being compressed between the bone and your shoe. That’s why tighter fitting shoes are more painful to wear.

You inherit bunions from your family, but certain shoes- both flats and heels can cause the bunion to grow at a faster rate.

Treatment options are wearing wider shoes- round or square toe shoes rather than pointy ones. Wearing shoes with arch supports to slow the progression, avoiding flats and heels. Anti-inflammatory medications can help reduce some of the swelling and pain caused from the bunion, but shouldn’t be taken frequently. You can also try splints and pads to relieve the pressure along the joint, but they will not correct the bunion deformity, that can only be done with surgery.

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The symptoms of a bunion include the following:

  • Development of a swelling, callus or firm bump on the outside edge of the foot, at the base of the big toe
  • Redness, swelling, or pain at or near the MTP joint
  • Development of hammertoes or calluses under the ball of the foot
  • Corns or other irritations caused by the overlap of the first and second toes
  • Restricted or painful motion of the big toe

Home Treatment

What can you do for relief?

  • Apply a commercial, non-medicated bunion pad around the bony prominence
  • Apply a spacer between the big toe and second digit
  • Wear shoes with a wide and deep toe box
  • If your bunion becomes inflamed and painful, apply ice packs several times a day to reduce swelling
  • Avoid high-heeled shoes over two inches tall

When to Visit a Podiatrist
If pain persists, podiatric medical attention should be sought. Bunions tend to get larger and more painful if left untreated, making non-surgical treatment less of an option.