What Causes Bunions?
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Bunions - Symptoms, Causes, And Treatment
A bunion is a bony lump that forms on the side of the big toe joint where the big toe meets your foot. It occurs due to an abnormality of the big toe bones in which the big toe leans toward the second toe. A bunion develops slowly and gets bigger, so much so that the big toe eventually moves on top of the second toe.
While a bunion may not cause any symptoms initially, it eventually becomes painful. In addition, narrow shoes and prolonged standing can make the symptoms worse.
What are the symptoms of a bunion?
Besides a bony lump on the side of the joint, you may experience the following symptoms:
- Persistent foot pain or pain that comes and goes with activity
- Redness and swelling on the side of the big toe
- Difficulty wearing new or even regular shoes
- Thickened skin on the underside of the big toe
- Reduced movement of the big toe
In addition, a bunion can make walking and other physical activity difficult. A bunion may also form at the joint where your little toe meets the foot. In this case, it is known as a bunionette.
What causes bunions?
A bunion commonly occurs due to the pressure on your big toe caused by the way you walk or abnormal foot structure. Your genes are more significant in getting a bunion than the environment. Some inherited conditions that increase your risk of getting this condition include flatfeet, loose foot ligaments, and abnormal bone structure in the foot.
However, foot injuries, prolonged standing, rheumatoid arthritis, and, more importantly, poorly fitted shoes — especially those with high heels or pointed toes — contribute significantly to getting a bunion. But it is still unclear whether these factors cause this condition or only worsen an existing structural problem in the foot.
How do you get rid of bunions?
Although a bunion often does not require any treatment, medical attention becomes necessary if you experience ongoing foot pain and it interferes with your daily activities. You can start managing your symptoms with conservative treatment options such as taking over-the-counter painkillers, resting, and applying ice. Certain lifestyle modifications, such as wearing comfortable shoes and physical therapy to break up soft tissue adhesions, are also crucial.
A shoe insole can be very helpful as it distributes body weight equally and reduces pressure over the bunion. It supports the arch and corrects structural foot problems such as flatfeet and alignment issues. You can get a shoe insole online or at your nearest pharmacy. In addition, you can also get a prescription-based customized shoe insole based on your foot impression and personal needs.
Similarly, an over-the-counter shoe pad relieves pain and discomfort by providing a cushion and a buffer between the shoe and the bunion. In addition, you also can use medical tape, a spacer between the big and second toe, or a night splint to keep your big toe straight and prevent it from getting bigger and causing more pain. However, your doctor may recommend surgery if these options fail to relieve your symptoms.
Surgery is the last resort in which your doctor removes the bunion and brings the big toe bones to their normal alignment. Talk to your doctor if your condition is not responding to conservative treatment options and is getting worse.