Bunion - Symptoms, Risk factors and Treatment

A bunion is a bony bump that forms on a metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint- a joint where your big toe joins with your foot. It can occur slowly over time, gets bigger, and sticks. The bunion can cause your big toe to turn inwards, so much that sometimes it moves over another toe next to it. Wearing tight shoes can sometimes cause or worsen the condition. It can also occur due to the shape of the foot or due to other health conditions that affect the joints, like rheumatoid arthritis. The skin over a bony bump may become red and swollen. 


Smaller bunions are called bunionettes that can develop on little joints like at the joint of your little toe. 


Symptoms 


The signs and symptoms of a bunion are;


The most characteristic sign of a bunion is a bony bump on the joint. The skin over the bunion may become red and swollen too. It might hurt and make movements hard, especially your big toe. The signs and symptoms of a bunion may include;


  • Corns or calluses - that often occurs when the first and second toes rub against each other due to bony bumps. 

  • Pain that comes and goes

  • Movement of the big toe is restricted

  • Swelling, soreness, or redness at a bony bump or around your big toe


Causes


According to experts, the bunion may occur due to wearing tight, high heeled or too narrow shoes. However, the exact cause is unknown. It can also be associated with conditions that affect your joints, like rheumatoid arthritis. Factors that play a role in causing it can be;


  • Inherited foot type

  • Foot stress 

  • Foot injuries

  • Deformities present at birth


Risk Factors 


The following factors may play a role in causing bunion;



High heels


Wearing high heels exerts pressure and forces your toes in front of shoes, causing crowding of your toes. 


Inappropriate sized shoes


People who wear shoes that do not fit them well, ones that are too tight, too narrow, or pointed can lead to the development of a bunion. 


Inflammatory conditions 


Having inflammatory conditions that affect your joints, like rheumatoid arthritis can cause a bunion. 


Hereditary


Having a family tendency of bunions may increase the chances of it for you too. 


Complications 


The bunion can cause the following complications;


Bursitis- the inflammation of the bursa sac- the small fluid-filled sacs that cushion your bones, muscles, and tendons near your bones. It is a painful condition, having the most common location at the shoulder, hip, and elbow. But you can also have it at the base of the big toe, base, and heel of the foot. Bursitis mostly occurs in the joints that we use for repetitive movements. 


Hammertoe- An abnormal bend in the middle joint of the toe, usually to the toe next to your big toe, causing pain and pressure. 


Metatarsalgia- A condition in which swelling and pain occur at the ball of your foot. 


Prevention 


To prevent bunion, make sure that you wear shoes that fit you well. Do not wear tight, too narrow shoes that pressurize your toes. 


Conclusion 


A bunion is a bony bump that forms on a metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint- a joint where your big toes join with your foot. It can occur slowly over time, gets bigger, and sticks. 

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