What You Need to Know About Bunions

Bunions are bony, lumpy deformities of the joints at the base of the big toe. It shows up as a red bump on the side of the big toe. It comes as a result of an imbalance in the ligaments and muscles of the foot.  A bunion forms when your big toe leans inward toward your second toe instead of being straight. The bump you see on your toe is a result of this unnatural angle.

According to studies, more than one in 3 older adults have at least one bunion problem, and although it might not look like something extremely painful, it can seriously slow a person down and produce severe pain.  It may even impede your ability to stand or walk.

A bunion may affect a person’s balance and increase the risk of falls in seniors. People with severe bunions experience less satisfaction with their lives in general. Often, they can’t wear the shoes they’d like to wear and they can’t do things they’d like to do.

The bunion occurs at the joint – the exact spot where your toe bends while walking. With a bunion present, your body weight rests on the bunion, which can be very painful. Bunions are very vulnerable to pressure from shoes and they can also lead to the development of calluses.

There are different types of bunions, including tailor’s bunion and arthritic bunion.

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What Causes Bunions?

Although the exact cause is unknown, there are many theories about why bunions develop. They are thought to have an active inherited component and your choice of footwear might also play a role.

Possible causes of bunion development include:

  • Inherited foot type
  • Foot injuries
  • Uncomfortable footwear
  • Deformities present at birth

Several risk factors might increase your odds of developing a bunion:

  • Uncomfortable shoes: people who wear tight shoes, or shoes that are too narrow or too pointed might be at higher risk.
  • High heels: when you wear high heels, you force your toes into the front of the shoe, which squeezes your toes together and makes you more susceptible to bunions.
  • Heredity: Inherited structural foot irregularities might be the cause of a bunion.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: people who suffer from this condition are more susceptible to bunions.

Symptoms of Bunions

There are several signs and symptoms of bunions:

  • A bump on the side of your big toe
  • The inflamed and red skin on the side of your big toe
  • Your big toe visibly turning toward the other toes
  • Calluses on your second toe (at the very spot where your toes overlap)
  • The thick skin under your big toe
  • Pain that may be persistent or it may come and go.
  • Difficulties when moving your big toe.

Bunion Diagnosis 

Many of the signs are visible ones so in most cases, a doctor can diagnose a bunion through simple visible inspection. During the exam, the doctor usually asks you to move your toe back and forth to inspect any possible limited movement. The doctor might order an X-ray. It gives a thorough insight of the condition of the bones and it can detail the severity of the bunion. Sometimes, a blood test is also necessary to rule out arthritis as a possible cause.  Bunion surgery is usually the only long-term fix.

Contact Northwest Surgery Center Colorado to schedule an appointment for free consultation. Depending on the urgency of your bunion problem, you can schedule a free consultation AND have bunion surgery on the same day!

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Book Your Appointment now or call 720-758-6760 to talk with a Northwest Surgery Center team member.