Bunions are probably the most common annoyances that you will find with feet. Women, men, old, young … bunions can affect anyone of any age or sex.
They hurt, they are uncomfortable, and they can affect anything you do that requires the use of your feet like walking, running, and even standing. But what are they exactly? What causes a bunion?
We are going to take a look at everything bunion. From the causes of bunions to bunion treatment, we’ll look at bunions from all sides. We’ll even show you how to get rid of bunions. By the time we are done, you will know everything about bunions causes, symptoms, and treatments.
What Is a Bunion?
So, you have what you think is a bunion and it hurts like crazy. But what’s a bunion? How can you be sure that the bump on your big toe is a bunion? Quite simply, a bunion (medically known as hallux valgus) is a bony protrusion present at the base of the big toe joint. This bony bump can cause pain and discomfort, especially when wearing shoes or tight footwear. So, it’s a bony bump that hurts. What actually causes a bunion? As it turns out, there are a number of causes of bunions that you should be aware of.
Causes of Bunions
You now have an idea of what a bunion is, but how does a bunion form in the first place? There is always some underlying issue, right? Well, it may actually come in two different steps. The first is a problem with the natural construction of your foot. This faulty foot condition tends to be inherited. That condition can lead to uneven weight-bearing in the foot or the tendon. This makes the toe joint unstable and results in bunions. Other causes can include:
• Improper development of feet in utero
• Foot injuries
• Certain types of arthritis like rheumatoid arthritis
• Certain conditions and disorders like polio that affect both the nerves and muscles
While the causes of bunions can be slightly vague and difficult to spot, the symptoms of bunions can help you to confirm what your foot issues might be.
Symptoms of Bunions
In order to successfully determine whether you have a bunion, you have to be able to recognize the symptoms of a bunion. There are a few to keep track of, but the first and most prominent symptom that you will have is the bump at the base of your big toe. That is the actual bunion. Other symptoms can come from that bunion may include:
• Pain and soreness
• Burning feeling in the feet
• Swelling of the toe
• Skin thickness at the base of the affected toe
• Pain with big toe movement
• Corns and calluses
Non-Surgical Treatments for Bunions
As you might surmise, bunions on side of foot growths can be painful and may affect your ability to move comfortably. Obviously, you will want to treat and get rid of your bunions as soon as possible, but you’ll want to know how to correct bunions. First, let’s tackle a few non-surgical treatments.
1. Proper Footwear
A natural relief for bunions is to just give them a bit of room. Wider footwear can provide relief and allow the bunion to heal a little bit. Avoiding high heels is also recommended as they put more pressure and weight on the front area of the foot.
2. Stretching and Massaging
You can help the circulation around the bunion by massaging and stretching your feet. It can also help relax the muscles in your feet that may be cramping due to how your walking because of the bunion. Using a little bit of warm olive oil as part of the massage can help this process.
Padding your foot by the bunion can help reduce pain.
Anti-inflammatory medications can help reduce swelling and pain in and around the bunion area and help the big toe regain movement.
Orthotics are molded inserts for your shoes that help correct posture and other foot issues. They are fitted for each patient and their particular foot issues. Orthotics could address what is causing your bunions, and if the foot issue is caught early enough, the orthotics may even be able to prevent bunions from forming at all.
6. Cold Compress
Using ice packs and cold compresses may help reduce the swelling and pain that comes part and parcel with bunions. The method is similar to what you would use in a muscle injury. Ice your feet for a few minutes, a few times a day.
But, if these do not work, surgery is also an option.
When Is Surgery Needed for Bunions?
If non-surgical options for the bunions are not working, then you and your doctor may have to consider surgery. This is often the last resort because the surgery can be delicate due to the sheer amount of moving parts in the foot. The surgery will realign ligaments, bone, tendons, and nerves, which will hopefully fix the issues that created the bunion. Typically, it will only be recommended in cases of extreme pain from the bunion.
Bunions Are Not Fun
If you’ve ever had a bunion, you know that they aren’t fun. At the very least, they are uncomfortable and make it difficult to wear certain types of shoes. At the very most, they can affect your foot’s range of motion, making it painful to walk, run, or stand. If you feel that the above-mentioned symptoms fit your toe, try one of the non-surgical treatments while you wait to talk to your doctor. With just a few changes, surgery may not be needed, but it is still best to get a doctor’s opinion and make sure you aren’t doing further damage to your foot.
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“Bunions,” American Podiatric Medical Association, http://www.apma.org/Learn/FootHealth.cfm?ItemNumber=979, last accessed June 1, 2017.
Haddad, S., “Bunions,” Ortho Info, February 2016, http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00155, last accessed June 1, 2017.