What is a Bunion?

A bunion is commonly referred to as a “bump” on the joint at the base of the big toe—the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint—that forms when the bone or tissue at the big toe joint moves out of place. The toe is forced to bend toward the others, causing an often painful lump of bone on the foot. Because this joint carries a lot of the body’s weight while walking, bunions can cause extreme pain if left untreated. The MTP joint itself may become stiff and sore, making even the wearing of shoes difficult or impossible. A bunion—from the Latin “bunio,” meaning enlargement—can also occur on the outside of the foot along the little toe, where it is called a “bunionette” or “tailor’s bunion.”

Causes

Bunions are bone deformities of the largest toe, or the metatarsophalangeal joint, and form when the toe is forced out of place over time. Generally speaking, few people have issues until they become large enough to push other toes out of alignment. Large bunions make wearing even basic footwear painful as pressure builds within the bones of the foot. Left untreated, bunions can begin to cause other toes to become deformed as well, causing the middle toes to sometimes develop into hammertoes.

Constant rubbing, irritation, and friction cause sufferers consistent pain as the affected joint is one that is flexed with every step. This condition is also more susceptible to arthritis than are healthy joints, which exacerbates both the pain and the reduced functionality of the joint.

Bunions can be hereditary, but the leading cause of the condition is wearing improperly fitting shoes. Foot injuries, pronated feet, and neuromuscular problems also cause the formation of the condition, which is why proper bunion treatment is important.

Treatment

Unlike other foot conditions, bunions do not correct themselves over time. Splints, orthotics and specially-fitted footwear all help to alleviate the pressure and reduce the future growth of a bunion. If misalignments and damage are serious enough, a bunion surgery known as a bunionectomy may be the next step in treatment.

For a full exam, get in touch with either our office. We’ll develop a bunion treatment plan specifically for you so that you can finally experience the relief that you’ve been waiting for.

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