Ankle and Feet Issues and Care Tips: A Podiatry Blog

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Bunions: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment Options

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A bunion is a common foot deformity that occurs when the joint at the bottom of your large toe is displaced laterally. In simple terms, you can recognise this condition by the unnatural bony protrusion at the base of the toe. This condition is medically known as the hallux valgus, and it can be painful and uncomfortable. When you are walking, your body weight will exert force on the area resulting in pain. Additionally, the bunion is vulnerable to further damage from your shoes because of the associated pressure and friction. Here is a simple guide to help you understand the causes, symptoms and treatment options for bunions.


Bunions will occur when your body weight is not distributed evenly on the leg. The pressure is exerted on the big toe, making the lower joint unstable. Eventually, the imbalance will permanently mould the affected joint into a knob that protrudes beyond the foot's normal shape. The type of shoes that you wear can cause the formation of bunions. Tight, high-heeled and narrow shoes cause the aforementioned imbalance, resulting in the foot condition. Bunions are also to genetics because some foot types are more susceptible to the deformity. Additionally, foot injuries and diseases like arthritis can cause or accelerate bunions.


It is important to recognise the primary symptoms of bunions so that you will decide on the intervention required. The most apparent symptom is the hard bump at the big toe base which might experience intermittent or even persistent pain. You might also notice tissue inflammation, soreness and general redness in the same area. The skin will also thicken with time and corns and calluses might begin to form. You should consult a podiatrist if you are experiencing constant pain and decreased mobility in your toe or the entire foot. Additionally, the medical expert can help if you experience difficulty in finding a shoe that fits your foot properly.

Treatment Options

The bunion treatment will depend on the severity of the condition, so you should get a thorough assessment form your doctor. If the deformity is not serious, you can get conservative treatment to relieve pain and discomfort. This might involve splinting the leg, changing footwear, applying ice and using medications. If the bunion is serious, your podiatrist can recommend surgical intervention. This treatment will allow removal of swollen tissues, realigning the displaced joint and even joining the joint permanently to prevent recurring issues.