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There is misinformation and confusion about bunion deformities. Our article, Plain Talk About Bunions, will explain in greater detail how bunions develop, what can be done and most importantly what should not be done. Also see our Newsletter on Bunions.
WHAT IS A BUNION?
A bunion is an enlargement or bump just behind the big toe. This bump is formed by the movement of the joint and not usually a large growth of bone. The foot appears wider. Nerves and vessels are in the skin overlying the bunion joint. Over time, and in certain shoes or even while lying in bed, the pressure over the joint hurts or becomes numb.
A foot that rolls inward (pronates) seems to cause and lead to many foot problems including bunions. When a person walks on this weakened foot structure, joints slowly move out of position. Secondly, muscles that control these joints maintain the bunion deformity and worsen it. Bunions only get progressively worse and never improve or get straighter. This means that once the bunion deformity starts it will be maintained and worsened if not properly treated.
More than half of the women in America have bunions, a common deformity often blamed on wearing tight, narrow shoes. But often bunion deformities are seen without wearing improper shoes. They can also occur in the teenaged years and can be quite severe. Bunions cause the base of your big toe (Metatarsophalangeal Joint) to enlarge and protrude. The skin over it may be red and tender. Wearing any type of shoe may be painful. This joint flexes with every step you take. The bigger your bunion gets, the more it hurts to walk. Bursitis may set in. Your big toe may angle toward your second toe, or even move all the way under it. The skin on the bottom of your foot may become thicker and painful.
Pressure from your big toe may force your second toe out of alignment, sometimes overlapping your third toe. If your bunion gets too severe, it may be difficult to walk. Your pain may become chronic and you may develop arthritis.
Most bunions can be treated without surgery by wearing protective pads to cushion the painful area, and of course, avoiding ill-fitting shoes in the first place.
Surgery May Just Be a Better Option
Bunion surgery, or bunionectomy, realigns the bone, ligaments, tendons and nerves so your big toe can be brought back to its correct position. Bunion surgeries are performed on a same-day basis (no hospital stay). They are generally very successful surgeries with excellent results. Improvement in procedures and instrumentation have enabled consistently good and permanent results.
The Other Bunion: Tailor's Bunion on the Small Toe