A bunion is a deformity characterized by a lateral deviation of the great toe. The bump itself is partly due to the swollen bursal sac or an osseous (bony) anomaly on the mesophalangeal joint (where the first metatarsal bone and hallux meet). The larger part of the bump is a normal part of the head of the first metatarsal bone that has tilted sideways to stick out at its top.
Signs and Symptoms
The symptoms of bunions include irritated skin around the bunion, pain when walking, joint redness and pain, and possible shift of the big toe toward the other toes. Blisters may form more easily around the site of the bunion as well.
Having bunions can also make it more difficult to find shoes that fit properly; bunions may force a person to have to buy a larger size shoe to accommodate the width the bunion creates. When bunion deformity becomes severe enough, the foot can hurt in different places even without the constriction of shoes because it then becomes a mechanical function problem of the forefoot.
Bunions may be treated conservatively with changes in footwear and the use of orthotics. A proper fitting shoe, with enough width in the forefoot, is important to prevent putting pressure on the bunion. An orthotic designed to fit your individual biomechanical needs can also help reduce irritation to the bunion. These treatments can eliminate pain, but they are not able to correct the deformity. If pain or the deformity are severe, surgery would be the next option.