A bunion is a bony bump that forms on the joint at the base of the big toe. It is caused by a misalignment of the bones in the foot, which leads to the big toe pointing inward and the joint becoming swollen and inflamed. Bunions can be caused by a number of factors, including:
- Genetics: Some people are more prone to developing bunions due to inherited foot structures.
- Footwear: Wearing tight, narrow, or high-heeled shoes can put pressure on the big toe joint and cause bunions to form.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: This chronic condition can cause inflammation in the joints, including the big toe joint.
- Certain foot conditions like flat feet or overpronation can also contribute to the development of bunions.
Symptoms of bunions include a bump on the side of the big toe, redness, pain, and tenderness around the big toe joint, and difficulty finding comfortable shoes that fit properly. In severe cases, the big toe can become so misaligned that it overlaps or underlaps the second toe.
Treatment for bunions usually starts with conservative measures such as rest, ice, and physical therapy. Stretching exercises, orthotics, and shoe inserts can also be helpful. In some cases, a night splint worn while sleeping can help to stretch the big toe and alleviate pain. In more severe cases, a corticosteroid injection or surgery may be required to correct the alignment of the bones. It’s important to see a medical professional for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.