A bunion is a thickened lump at the base of the big toe. It causes the big toe to move toward the smaller toes. It can make walking difficult.
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Bunions are caused by a deformity of the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint at the base of the big toe. This causes instability of the joint.
Deformity can be caused by:
- Flat feet, which transfer too much weight to the MTP joint
- Narrow-toed shoes and high heels
Certain neuromuscular diseases, such as
cerebral palsy or multiple sclerosis
- Activities that put undue stress on the feet, such as ballet
Factors that increase your chance of getting a bunion include:
- Family members who have foot abnormalities
- Sex: female
You should seek medical attention if you have diabetes and you are having problems with your feet.
The goals of treatment are to relieve pressure on the bunion and stop progression of the deformity.
Padding and Taping
Padding the bunion may reduce pain and allow you to continue a normal, active life.
Taping helps to keep the foot in a normal position, reducing stress and pain.
Medication may be used to ease pain and inflammation, including:
- Anti-inflammatory drugs
- Cortisone injections
Wear shoes that are wide and deep in the toe area. Make sure the top of the shoe doesn't hit or rub against the bunion. There should be half an inch of space between the shoe and the end of your longest toe when you are standing.
Physical therapy can relieve inflammation and pain. Ultrasound therapy is often used to treat bunions and related soft tissue problems.
Shoe inserts may help maintain foot function. They may reduce symptoms and prevent worsening of the deformity.
may be needed to relieve the pressure and repair the toe joint, if the other treatments fail. Surgical procedures include:
- Removal of the bony lump
- A more involved procedure to cut the bone and realign the joint
If you are diagnosed as having a bunion, follow your doctor's