Bunions are one of the most common causes of foot pain. They are often caused by specific types of footwear combined with a genetic predisposition for the condition and possible injury or trauma to the foot.
Bunions are highly visible protrusions in the joint of the big toe where it connects to the ball of the foot. They can cause the big toe to angle into the other toes, even when not in a shoe, creating pain and discomfort. The lump formed at the joint often rubs against shoes to create a red, irritated, and even infected area if not treated.
Causes of Bunions
Bunions can be partially caused by genetics. However, our foot specialists all agree shoes are the biggest contributing cause of the problem. High heels with a narrow toe are the biggest culprits, as they push the weight of the body onto the ball of the foot and the toes.
Our orthopaedic specialists see the vast majority of bunions on women, particularly women wearing high heels with narrow toes on an ongoing, regular basis. People with arthritis can also develop bunions, as can individuals experiencing specific types of foot injuries.
While narrow-toed, high-heeled shoes are often identified as the major culprit, there are other issues to consider as well. Obesity, ill-fitted shoes, and low-quality shoes can all contribute to the problems regardless of their toe box shape or the height of the heels.
The symptoms of bunions are standard regardless of the cause of the condition. The most common symptoms of bunions are obvious even in the early stages, although they may be ignored.
- Redness, swelling, and pain in the joint of big toe where it joins to the foot.
- Corns and calluses developing between the toes, as pressure increases to push the toes out of natural alignment.
- A bulge, often small at first but then rapidly expanding, deforming the profile or shape of the foot.
- Pain in the big toe and other toes in the foot in all types of footwear, but most noticeably in narrow-toed dress shoes or high heels.
- Inability to move the big toe.
- Big toe slants noticeably in on the foot and is not straight with the foot.
Bunions, depending on the pain associated with the condition and the overall stage of the swelling, can respond to a variety of treatments. This can include something as simple as changing shoes or adding orthodontic inserts.
In addition, if these simple solutions don’t work, surgery is an option. This can require a lengthy recovery process and may include weeks or months of recovery time, depending on the type of surgery required.
To learn more about bunions and how they should be treated, see our orthopedic specialists. Our doctors will provide a complete analysis of the condition and explain your treatment options.