What Is a Bunion?
A bunion is a bony deformity of the joint at the base of the big toe. The medical name for a bunion is Hallux Abducto Valgus (HAV).
Signs and Symptoms of a Bunion
One or more of these signs and symptoms may be present.
- A bulging bump on the outside of the base of your big toe.
- Swelling, redness or soreness around your big toe joint.
- Thickening of the skin at the base of your big toe.
- Corns or Calluses often developing where the first and second toes overlap.
- Persistent or intermittent pain.
- Restricted movement in the big toe.
- Changes to foot shape making it more difficult to find shoes that fit.
Causes of Bunions
- Genetics – If other members of your family have bunions, your risk of developing them increases. This does not mean you will definitely develop bunions.
- Arthritis – The types of arthritis thought to cause bunions include Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Gout and Psoriatic Arthritis.
- Poorly Fitting Footwear – Wearing shoes that are too tight and don’t fit properly is likely to make an existing bunion worse. Shoes that are too small or tight will squeeze your feet, causing your big toe to remain in a bent position. High heels place the toe joints in considerable strain.
- Biomechanics – Some individuals with flat feet that roll inwards (overpronate) develop bunions due to the high overload stress placed on the big toe joint.
- Age – It has been indicated that the incidence of bunions increases with age.
- Injury or Trauma – A past injury or trauma to the great toe joint can cause bunions.
Conservative Treatment of Bunions
Conservative treatments can ease the pain and discomfort caused by a bunion, but they can’t change the shape of your foot or prevent a bunion from getting worse over time.
- Painkillers – If your bunion is painful, over-the-counter painkillers (paracetamol or ibuprofen) may be recommended. *please check with your doctor if you are suitable for these*
- Bunion Pads – Reusable bunion pads stop your foot rubbing on your shoe and relieve the pressure over the enlarged joint at the base of your big toe.
- Orthotics – Orthotics are used in footwear to help realign the bones of your foot, which can relieve pressure on your bunion.
- Suitable Footwear – Recommended footwear consists of wearing a flat or low-heeled shoe and with a wide toe box.
- Ice – Applying an icepack to the affected area may help relieve pain and inflammation.
- Activity Modification – Any activities that worsen symptoms should be limited.