What is a bunion?
Bunions are often described as a bump on the side of the big toe, but a bunion is more than that. The visible bump actually reflects changes in the bony framework of the front part of the foot. With a bunion, the big toe leans toward the second toe, rather than pointing straight ahead. This throws the bones out of alignment, producing the bunion's "bump." Bunions are a progressive disorder. They begin with a leaning of the big toe, gradually changing the angle of the bones over the years and slowly producing the characteristic bump, which continues to become increasingly prominent. Usually the symptoms of bunions appear at later stages, although some people never have symptoms.
What causes a bunion?
Bunions are most often caused by an inherited faulty mechanical structure of the foot. It is not the bunion itself that is inherited, but certain foot types that make a person prone to developing a bunion. Although wearing shoes that crowd the toes won't actually cause bunions in the first place, it sometimes makes the deformity get progressively worse. That means you may experience symptoms sooner.
Symptoms occur most often when wearing shoes that crowd the toes—shoes with a tight toe box or high heels. This may explain why women are more likely to have symptoms than men. In addition, spending long periods of time on your feet can aggravate the symptoms of bunions.
Symptoms, which occur at the site of the bunion, may include:
Other conditions which may appear with bunions include calluses on the big toe, sores between the toes, ingrown toenail, and restricted motion of the toe.
Bunions are readily apparent—you can see the prominence at the base of the big toe or side of the foot. However, to fully evaluate your condition, Dr. Crosby may take x-rays to determine the degree of the deformity and assess the changes that have occurred.
Because bunions are progressive, they don't go away, and will usually get worse over time. But not all cases are alike—some bunions progress more rapidly than others. Once the team at North Hill Foot & Ankle has evaluated your particular case, a treatment plan can be developed that is suited to your needs.
Courtesy of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons