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Bunions

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Bunions most commonly occur at the inner part of the base of the big toe.  Bunions represent additional bone formation, often in combination with inflammation of the overlying bursa (a small fluid-filled sac), which leads to additional swelling, redness and pain. redness, and pain.

What are the Risk Factors?


Bunions most commonly affect women, with some studies reporting women being affected 10 times more frequently than men.

It has been suggested that wearing narrow-toed, high-heeled shoes may lead to the development of a bunion (bunions are common in ballet dancers).  There also appear to be a hereditary predisposition for the development of bunions, especially when they occur in younger individuals.

Other risk factors for the development of bunions include congenital abnormal formation of the bones of the foot, rheumatoid arthritis, and injury to the foot.

Symptoms


Bunions may or may not cause symptoms.  Typical symptoms include pain over the area when walking or wearing shoes, which is relieved by rest.

Other symptoms include:

• Red, warm and tender swelling along the inside edge of the big toe

• A bony swelling at this site

• Big toe turned toward the other toes (hallux valgus)

It is important to note that similar symptoms of pain and redness at the base of the big toe may be caused by gout.

How are Bunions Treated?


When a bunion first begins to develop, make sure that you take good care of your feet. 

• Wear broader, wide-toed shoes.  This can often solve the problem and prevent you from needing more treatment.

• Wear foam pads to protect the bunion, or devices called spacers to separate the first and second toes.

• Rest your foot and avoid excessive walking.

If the bunion gets worse and more painful, anti-inflammatory medications, can help to ease the pain and inflammation.  Local cold-pack application can also help relieve some of the symptoms.

A bunion splint may be worn at night to provide further relief.  Depending on the structure of the foot, custom-made insoles might add further support and help re-align a malaligned toe.

To reduce tension on the inner part of the joint of a bunion, stretching exercises may sometimes be prescribed.

Doctors may sometimes offer injections to the bunion site to help relieve the pain and inflammation.

Any signs of skin breakdown or infection may require treatment with antibiotics.

For those whose bunions cause persistent pain, surgery may be considered. The surgical operation to remove a bunion is referred to as a bunionectomy. Surgical procedures may also be performed to correct deformity. These procedures typically involve removing the bony growth of the bunion while realigning the big toe.

Find an Orthopaedic Surgeon

The article above is meant to provide general information and does not replace a doctor's consultation.
Please see your doctor for professional advice.


Further Reading

 
The article above is meant to provide general information and does not replace a doctor's consultation.
Please see your doctor for professional advice.