A bunion is progressive disorder that begins with the leaning of the big toe and gradually changes the angle of the bones over several years. Eventually a visible bump is produced reflecting the change in the bony skeleton of the foot. This bump is called a 'bunion'.

What causes a Bunion?

Certain types of skeletal foot structures make a person prone to developing bunions. An inherited faulty mechanical structure of the foot often is the cause. Wearing shoes that crowd the toes, such as high heels or shoes with a tight toe box, can result in a bunion progressing more quickly than what would have originally occurred, which explains why many women experience bunions.

How do I know if I have a Bunion?

What are the symptoms of a Bunion?

Symptoms at the site of the bunion include pain or soreness, inflammation and redness, a burning sensation, and possible numbness. Bunions are progressive and don't go away. In fact, they usually get worse overtime, but each case advances at a different rate. People who experience a bunion oftentimes also have hammer toes.

How is a Bunion diagnosed?

A physical examination coupled with x-rays will be used to determine the degree of the deformity and assess ongoing changes.

What can I do from home for a Bunion?

What can I do to prevent a Bunion?

While bunions are formed because of a faulty skeletal structure, and you can't prevent them from ever occurring, you can prevent them from developing faster than what your skeletal structure intended.

  • Wear shoes that allow for plenty of room for your toes. Pointed shoes or high heels should be avoided.
  • Avoid standing for long periods of time.

What treatments can I do from home for a Bunion?

In addition to the suggestions above, you could try the following:

  • Using an arch support can help to transfer the pressure off the bunion.
  • Toe spreaders/separators or soft silicone spreaders between the first and second toe helps to prevent them from butting against each other, and may prevent progression.
  • A bunion splint could be used to help prevent the first and second toe from rubbing and may also prevent progression.
  • Applying ice for 10 minutes each evening or when sore can relieve pain and irritation.
  • A topical pain reliever can be used during the day or night to help with discomfort.
  • Purchase shoes that have a large toe box or have your shoes stretched to accommodate the bunion and prevent friction.

When should I see a doctor for a Bunion?

You should make an appointment with an orthopaedic surgeon or podiatrist if you experience the following:

  • Pain, redness, or soreness at the site of the bunion,
  • Numbness in your toes,
  • Pain or callus developing in the 2nd or adjacent toes,
  • Rapid progression of the bump or toe deformity.

Treatments your doctor may recommend for Bunions

There are a variety of non-surgical treatments available for bunions. Treatments are aimed at easing pain and discomfort of a bunion, but are not generally able to reverse the deformity. Depending on the severity of your condition the doctor may suggest some of the following treatment options:

  • Observation is sometimes all that is required. To reduce damage to the joints periodic examinations and x-rays are recommended.
  • Changing your footwear. Avoid shoes with tight toe boxes and high heels.
  • Avoid standing for long periods of time and other activities that cause bunion pain.
  • Your doctor or surgeon can prescribe devices to offload or relieve pressure from painful areas.
  • Anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen, may occasionally be recommended to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Orthotic devices may be prescribed by your doctor.

If non-surgical treatments fail to relive pain, you and your surgeon can discuss surgical options. There are a variety of procedures available to treat bunions that remove the bump of bone and correct the changes in the skeletal structure.