All You Need To Know About The Bunions

A bunion is one of the most common foot problems, and if it is left unchecked, it can cause a lot of other problems. It is also known as hallux valgus, which is defined as a malignant of the big toe. A bunion is characterized by a bony bump which most often develops from the zigzag of the bones at the ball of the big toe, accompanied by pain, inflammation, and swelling. As the bunion progresses, it becomes painful.

The bone at the base of the big toe connects to a bone at the ball of the foot and this connection is known as joints. Normally, the two bones lie in the straight line but sometimes, the big toe turn in towards the smaller toe, which pushes the joint out of the side and causes the bump. This bump is known as a bunion. The bump can be mild to severe. A mild or moderate bunion is characterized by a small bump on the side of the foot at the base of the big toe. Whereas, a severe bunion is characterized by a larger bump on the side of the foot.

Symptoms of bunions

  • Pain and swelling around the joints
  • Bump on the outside edge of the foot
  • Redness of the skin
  • Problems in walking normally
  • Numbness of the big toe.

Causes of bunions

  • Most often, wearing poorly fitted shoes for a long time, such as shoes with a pointed or narrow toe box, that squeezes the toe into an unnatural position is considered to be the common cause of a bunion.
  • Some studies suggest that heredity can also play an important role in the development of bunions. It can be passed from one generation to another.
  • It is believed that gender can also play a role in development as it has been observed that bunion in eight to nine times more common in women as compared to men.

Complications associated with bunions

A bunion starts with a small bump, but if it is left untreated it can progress quickly. If left untreated, it can lead to the development of the complications associated with it. Some of the common complications of bunions are as follows:

1. Bursitis – It is one of the common complications of a bunion and it is characterized by the painful inflammation of fluid-filled sacs, known as bursae, cushions the movement between the bones, muscles, and tendons near the joints. The most common locations are bursitis and the factors that affect the length of disability include the number of bursae affected, its site and the cause.  

2. Hammertoe – It is also a complication of a bunion and it is characterized by the bending of one or both joints of the second, third, fourth or fifth little toes. It is associated with many problems as an abnormal bending can put pressure on the toe. It is accompanied by symptoms like pain and irritation when wearing shoes, corns on the top, side or end of the toe, inflammation, redness, in severe cases open sores can occur.

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3. Metatarsalgia – It is defined as a pain in the metatarsophalangeal joints that can be caused by infection, previous foot surgery, but is most commonly caused by abnormal foot mechanics. The causes of metatarsalgia are categorized into three – primary, secondary, and iatrogenic. Primary metatarsalgia is due to an anatomical characteristic of the metatarsals and affect the rest of the foot. Secondary metatarsalgia is caused by conditions that increase metatarsal loading. The development of forefoot surgery increases the risk of iatrogenic metatarsalgia.  

General tips to prevent the development of a bunion

Some of the general tips that can help you prevent the development of bunion are as follows:

  • Do not purchase shoes that feel too tight.
  • Walk in shoes that are comfortable.
  • Ensures that the ball of the foot fits well into the widest part of the shoes.
  • Choose low heeled shoes
  • Choose footwear that have the same shape as your foot.

Some natural ways to treat bunions include:

1. Ice massage – Cold compress is an effective way to treat bunions. Usually, along with pain bunion is accompanied by inflammation and it is believed that ice massage is an effective way to reduce inflammation and effects caused by it. Ice massage helps in reducing redness. Using ice is very easy. Wrap some ice cubes in a clean cloth and place it on the bunions.

2. Foot exercise – Exercise is one of the easiest ways to treat a bunion. There are many foot exercises that can be practiced to prevent and treat this foot problem. It is believed that just stretching of big toes can be effective. Practicing exercises on a daily basis provides an amazing relief from the symptoms of bunions.

3. Bunion pads – There are bunion pads which are known to prevent the progression of bunions. The pad will put your toe back to a proper position and helps in reducing the pain.


Tags: Bunion surgery, Bunion splint, Bunion exercises

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Janet Fudge

Janet Fudge writes on general health topics for She holds a post-graduate diploma in Public Health with a major in epidemiology. During the outbreak of COVID-19, Janet actively volunteered in vaccination drives throughout the state of Iowa. She lives in Iowa with her husband and two children.