Bunions can cause pain along the side of the foot. Bunions can also make it difficult to walk or find shoes that fit comfortably. TriHealth Orthopedic & Sports Institute and Beacon Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine physicians offer treatment to relieve bunion pain and, if necessary, remove the bunion.
A bunion is a painful, bony bump that forms on the inside of the big toe due to a deformity of the joint at the base of the toe (metatarsophalangeal joint). When repeated pressure on the joint pushes the big toe toward the second toe, the bones that make up the joint are pushed out of alignment. The joint becomes stiff and deformed, forming a bunion. If the pressure continues, the bunion becomes worse. Over time the bunion can make walking or even wearing shoes painful.
There are also less common types of bunions:
- Adolescent bunions are common in girls ages 10-15 and tend to be hereditary.
- Bunions form on the outside of the foot near the little toe.
Bunions often develop as a result of:
- Inherited foot shape or structure
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Wearing narrow, tight shoes that squeeze the toes together
Bunion symptoms may include:
- A bump on the side of the big toe
- A callus, corn or thickened skin on the bump
- Limited movement in the big toe
- Redness, swelling or soreness around the big toe joint
Our orthopedic specialists treat most bunions with nonsurgical methods to relieve pain and take the pressure off the toes. Treatments include:
- Anti-inflammatory medicine to help reduce swelling and pain
- Applying an icepack to the toe to reduce swelling
- Discontinuing use of shoes that put pressure on the toes
- Placing a pad over the bunion to provide cushion and reduce pain
- Using orthotic devices worn inside of shoes to reduce pressure on the toes
- Wearing a splint to keep the big toe in a straighter position
- Wearing shoes that accommodate the bunion without pain
If the joint is severely deformed and causing pain, surgery may be needed to remove or realign the bones to correct the joint.
Bunion risk factors
Factors that may increase your risk of bunions include:
- Arthritis or inflammatory disease
- Having flat feet or low arches
- Having loose joints or tendons
- Repetitive stress on the feet
- Wearing high heels that put pressure on the toes
- Wearing tight or narrow shoes that squeeze the toes together
Reduce your risk of developing bunions by following a few guidelines, including:
- Wearing shoes that fit properly and have a wide toebox
- Avoiding high heels that put pressure on the forefoot