What You Need to Know About Bunions
Bunions are bony, lumpy deformities of the joints at the base of the big toe. A bunion looks like a bump on the side of the big toe. It comes as a result of an abnormality of the foot bones. A bunion forms when your big toe leans 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.
A bunion may affect a person’s balance and increase the risk of falls in seniors. Also, people with a severe bunion experience lack of confidence and less satisfaction with their lives in general due to the fact they have extreme trouble finding shoes that fit. Most often, they can’t wear the shoes they’d like to wear.
The bunion occurs at the joint – the exact spot where your toe bends during regular walking. With a bunion present, your body weight rests on the bunion itself which can be very painful. They are very vulnerable to pressure from shoes, and also, they can lead to the development of calluses.
What Causes Bunions?
Although the exact cause is unknown, there are many theories about their development. They are thought to have an active inherited component.
Tight, uncomfortable shoes are a topic of debate for many experts. They disagree whether tight shoes can cause a bunion or if they contribute to bunion development.
Possible causes for the development of a bunion 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.
- 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 defect 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 your 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.
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. If an injury or a deformity is suspected, 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!