A bunion is easy to notice. It is classified as a deformity and is a bony protrusion on the side of the big toe. It can develop as a result of genetic factors or from wearing shoes that are too tight in the toe area. Research has shown it affects approximately 35% of people who are over 65 years old and may affect their quality of life if not promptly treated. The medical term for a bunion is called hallux valgus and happens when the first long bone of the foot meets the first bone of the toe. When this moves out of alignment, a bunion has formed. It often develops slowly and if it becomes severe it may shift the other toes toward each other. Flexibility and range of motion may negatively affect the foot, and the skin may become irritated. Some patients experience foot injuries, and this may lead to the development of a bunion. Additionally, existing medical conditions including flat feet and rheumatoid arthritis may increase the risk of getting a bunion. If you have noticed a bunion on your foot, it is strongly suggested that you are under the care of a podiatrist who can determine what the best course of treatment is for you, which may include surgery for permanent removal.
What Is a Bunion?
A bunion is formed of swollen tissue or an enlargement of boney growth, usually located at the base joint of the toe that connects to the foot. The swelling occurs due to the bones in the big toe shifting inward, which impacts the other toes of the foot. This causes the area around the base of the big toe to become inflamed and painful.
Why Do Bunions Form?
Genetics – Susceptibility to bunions are often hereditary
Stress on the feet – Poorly fitted and uncomfortable footwear that places stress on feet, such as heels, can worsen existing bunions
How Are Bunions Diagnosed?
Doctors often perform two tests – blood tests and x-rays – when trying to diagnose bunions, especially in the early stages of development. Blood tests help determine if the foot pain is being caused by something else, such as arthritis, while x-rays provide a clear picture of your bone structure to your doctor.
How Are Bunions Treated?
- Refrain from wearing heels or similar shoes that cause discomfort
- Select wider shoes that can provide more comfort and reduce pain
- Anti-inflammatory and pain management drugs
- Orthotics or foot inserts
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our offices located in Concord, Charlotte, Albemarle, and Salisbury, NC . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.