Odds are that you have probably suffered from bunions or heard someone complain about them at some point in your life. Bunions are a common deformity that affects the hallux, more commonly known as the big toe in your foot. The medical term for bunions is hallux valgus. When you have a bunion, this toe bends inwards, while the metatarsophalangeal joint angles outwards, creating the appearance of a bony protrusion on the side of your foot.
The resulting abnormality is caused by the inflammation of the bursal sac of the affected joint. Bunions are usually caused by wearing narrow, pointed shoes that push your big toe inwards, thus making the joint “stick” out. Women tend to wear tight, narrow shoes more often, which makes the incidence of bunions higher in females. There are other conditions that can cause bunions, such as arthritis or congenital malformations.
The most common symptoms of bunions include:
Bunions tend to start out small, and develop over an extended period of time. Since the metatarsophalangeal joint has to flex every time you take a step, it becomes more swollen and painful over time. In severe cases, the big toe might even force the second toe out of alignment. Calluses can form where the toes rub together, causing even more discomfort.
There are several things you can do to prevent bunions from getting worse or from developing at all. Some of these steps include: