A bunion is a misalignment of the bones at the base of the big toe. The joint at the base of the big toe is known as the metatarsophalangeal joint (MTP joint). In a normal MTP joint, the big toe will point straight ahead. When the bones in the MTP joint become misaligned, the big toe will lean or point inward toward the other toes, forming a lump on the side of the MTP joint.
A bunion occurs when too much pressure is placed on the big toe and it’s supporting structure is progressively forced out of it’s natural position.
Common risk factors and causes of bunions can include:
Genetics – an inherited foot structure defect
Footwear – tight fitting dress shoes and high heels
Arthritis – osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis
This condition most commonly occurs in middle-aged adults. Women are more likely than men to develop bunions, which is attributed to footwear choices.
Besides a lump on the side of the MTP joint, symptoms of bunion include:
Corns and calluses can develop between the toes when pressure causes them to rub against each other.
Pain on side of the MTP joint is a very common symptom and can be aggravated by stiff and tight footwear. Pain will worsen as the condition progresses.
Pain can worsen if this condition is not treated, so it’s important to have your foot examined by a podiatrist. The earlier this condition is treated, the more likely a patient will benefit from non-operative treatment. If the deformity isn’t severe, changes related to footwear may be enough to reduce discomfort.
Non-operative treatments for bunions can include:
Surgery to realign and repair the MTP joint is only recommended if non-operative treatments fail to reduce pain to a manageable level. There is more than one surgical procedure for a bunion deformity. A foot surgeon will determine and explain the type of procedure to be used. Most procedures are done on an outpatient basis
Our podiatrist are highly experienced at diagnosing and treating painful conditions that affect the big toe joint.
Bunions, gout, and osteoarthritis are all conditions that should be managed as early as possible to prevent or slow down the progression of damage to the MTP joint.