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A bunion is a bump on the outside of the big toe joint. Contrary to popular belief, most of the time a bunion is much more than just extra bone that needs to be shaved; it is usually an angular deformity of the first metatarsal bone which often requires surgical correction if it is sympotmatic.  When a bunion forms, the big toe will often angle towards the second toe, and will occasionally overlap the toe.  It is possible to have a bump on the outside of the fifth toe joint which is referred to as a “Tailor’s Bunion” or “Bunionette.”

What Causes a bunion?

  • Bunions form when there is an imbalance of the forces exerted on the big toe joint.  This imbalance of forces leads to instability and deformity.  This is often caused by excessive pronation, hyper mobility of joints and ligaments, decreased ankle joint range of motion. 

  • Heredity:  While bunions tend to run in families, it is the faulty foot type that is inherited, not the bunion itself.  

  • Trauma, neuromuscular conditions, and congenital foot deformities can less commonely be the cause of your bunion.  occasionally be a cause of a bunion

  • Wearing shoes that are too tight or cause the toes to be squeezed together

What are the symptoms of a bunion?

  • Formation of a bump on the inside of the big toe joint. 

  • Redness, swelling, or pain at or near the big toe joint

  • Formation of a callus on the inside of the big toe joint or inbetween the first and second toe.

  • Development of hammertoes or calluses under the ball of the foot

  • Painful motion of the big toe

How can you treat your bunion at home?

While you will not be able to “correct” the bunion, there are things you can do to decrease your pain.

  • Wear wider toebox supportive sneakers 

  • Wear a spacer inbetween the big toe and second toe

  • Apply a non medicated bunion pad over the painful area

  • Wear shoes with a wide and deep toe box

  • Rest, Ice, Elevation, over-the-counter pain medicine

When to make an appointment at Fulshear Foot and Ankle?

  • If you think you have a bunion and none of the above treatments help, you should make an appointment to see Dr. Hurwitz or Dr. Amin.  Bunions tend to get larger and more painful if left untreated and can lead to further complications.  There are also other conditions which can mimic a bunion, which may require a different treatment approach.   

How is a bunion diagnosed?

  • Dr. Amin and Dr. Hurwitz always start by listening to your concerns and performing a thorough physical examination.
  • X-rays are usually required in order to evaluate the severity of the deformity and check to see if there is any arthritis of the joint

How are bunions treated?

Treatment options vary with the type and severity of each bunion

  • Prescription anti inflammatory medication or steroid injections can be used to decrease the pain and inflammation around the joint 

  • Physical Therapy may be utilized to to help increase strength and flexibility of surrounding structures. 

  • Padding and taping can be used to relieve pressure on the bunion and to immobilize the joint.  

  • Custom orthotics are often prescribed to control abnormal foot function.  This can help to reduce symptoms and may prevent progression of the deformity.

  • If conservative options fail, surgical intervention may be necessary to reduce the size of the bump, realign the big toe joint, and help increase the joint’s range of motion.