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A bunion, which is an abnormal bump on the big toe joint caused by enlargement of the joint, may cause significant pain, disfigurement, and deformity. When the joint swells, it can place pressure on the other toes, causing them to crowd together and extend outside the normal foot profile. Although bunions are a relatively minor foot ailment, it is important to obtain treatment while in the earlier stages. With prompt treatment by a skilled doctor, most patients can enjoy improved foot comfort.

Causes of bunions

Bunions are caused by ongoing pressure on the feet, particularly on the big toe. Some common sources of such pressure include: 

  • Certain medical conditions, including arthritis. 
  • Inherited structural defects of the foot. 
  • Shoe fit – stress points from high-heeled shoes or shoes that fit too tightly.

Symptoms of bunions

Symptoms of bunions include: 

  • "Hammertoes" (bent or claw-like toes). 
  • Corns and calluses between the toes. 
  • Ingrown toenails. 
  • Misshaped joint area of big toe. 
  • Pain, redness, and/or swelling of the big toe’s joint. 
  • Restricted movement of the big toe.
  • Thickening of the skin around the toes.

Treatment for bunions

Treatment for bunions depends on the severity of your symptoms and is not always necessary. For relatively minor bunions, lifestyle adjustments (i.e. wearing well-fitting shoes and/or shoe inserts and other supports) may be all that is necessary to heal the bunions. For more severe bunions, medications, including anti-inflammatory and pain control medications, may be required. In severe cases, including those in which a sac of fluid surrounding the joint becomes inflamed, surgery may be required.

With the help of an experienced doctor, bunions are treatable. If you are experiencing the symptoms of bunions, contact your doctor today to learn more about treatment options.