What is a Bunion?

  • A bunion is an enlargement of the joint at the base of the big toe (the metatarsal-phalangeal [MTP] joint) that forms when the bone or tissue at the big toe joint moves out of place. This forces the toe to bend toward the others, causing a prominent lump of bone that is often painful.
  • The MTP joint itself may become stiff and sore, making even wearing shoes and walking painful
  • A bunion can also occur on the outside of the foot just behind the little toe, where it is called a “bunionette” or a “Tailor’s bunion”

Symptoms of a Bunion

  • Development of a hard or firm bump on the inside edge of the foot by the 1st MTPJ, at the base of the big toe joint
  • Redness, swelling, or pain at or near the MTP joint
  • Restricted or painful motion of the big toe

How Do You Get a Bunion?

  • Bunions form when the normal balance of force that is exerted on the joints and
    tendons of the foot becomes disrupted. This can lead to instability in the joint and cause the deformity.
  • Bunions are generally progressive in nature, brought about by years of abnormal motion and pressure over the MTP joint
  • Bunions are symptoms of: Faulty foot function, the way we walk, inherited foot type, and shoe gear aggravation

Other Causes of Bunions

  • Foot injuries
  • Neuromuscular disorders
  • Congenital deformities
  • Wearing shoes that are too tight
  • In some people, feet that flatten excessively
  • Arthritis or inflammatory joint disease

Treatment Options: Conservative

  • See your podiatrist at the first indication of pain or discomfort – x-rays may be taken
  • Padding, taping and bracing
  • Medications
  • Physical therapy
  • Orthotics
  • Changing shoe types

Treatment Options: Surgical

  • Surgery can remove the bony enlargement, restore the normal alignment of the toe joint, and/or relieve pain
  • Many types of bunion procedures include: Simple bunionectomy, Head procedures, Base procedures, and Joint destructive procedures

Bunion Surgery

  • Recuperation takes time
  • There may be swelling and some discomfort for several weeks following the procedure
  • Pain is usually managed with medication prescribed by the podiatrist

Bunion and hammertoes