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Bunions

A bunion typically appears as a bony bump on the inside edge of the foot, where the innermost long bone of the foot (called the first metatarsal) meets the base of the big toe.

Wearing tight, narrow shoes might cause bunions or make them worse. Bunions can also develop as a result of the shape of your foot, a foot deformity or a medical condition, such as arthritis.Smaller bunions (bunionettes) can develop on the joint of your little toe.

A bunion is a bony bump that forms on the joint at the base of your big toe. It occurs when some of the bones in the front part of your foot move out of place. This causes the tip of your big toe to get pulled toward the smaller toes and forces the joint at the base of your big toe to stick out. The skin over the bunion might be red and sore.

The signs and symptoms of a bunion include:

  • A bulging bump on the outside of the base of your big toe
  • Swelling, redness or soreness around your big toe joint
  • Corns or calluses — these often develop where the first and second toes rub against each other
  • Ongoing pain or pain that comes and goes
  • Limited movement of your big toe

Wearing tight, narrow shoes might cause bunions or make them worse. Bunions can also develop as a result of the shape of your foot, a foot deformity or a medical condition, such as arthritis.

There are many theories about how bunions develop, but the exact cause is unknown. Factors likely include:

  • Inherited foot type
  • Foot stress or injuries
  • Deformities present at birth
Your doctor can identify a bunion by examining your foot. After the physical exam, an X-ray of your foot can help your doctor determine the best way to treat it.

Treatment options vary depending on the severity of your bunion and how much pain it causes.

Nonsurgical treatments that may relieve the pain and pressure of a bunion include:

  • Changing shoes.Wear roomy, comfortable shoes that provide plenty of space for your toes.
  • Padding.Over-the-counter, nonmedicated bunion pads or cushions may be helpful. They can act as a buffer between your foot and your shoe and ease your pain.
  • Medications.Acetaminophen (Tylenol, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) or naproxen sodium (Aleve) can help you control the pain of a bunion. Cortisone injections also might help.
  • Shoe inserts.Padded shoe inserts can help distribute pressure evenly when you move your feet, reducing your symptoms and preventing your bunion from getting worse. Over-the-counter supports can provide relief for some people; others require prescription orthotic devices.
  • Applying ice.Icing your bunion after you’ve been on your feet too long or if it becomes inflamed can help relieve soreness and swelling. If you have reduced feeling or circulation problems with your feet, check with your doctor first before applying ice.

If conservative treatment doesn’t relieve your symptoms, you might need surgery. Surgery is not recommended for cosmetic reasons; only when a bunion causes you frequent pain or interferes with your daily activities.

To help prevent bunions, choose shoes carefully. They should have a wide toe box — no pointy toes — and there should be space between the tip of your longest toe and the end of the shoe.

Your shoes should conform to the shape of your feet without squeezing or pressing any part of your foot.

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Doc Martin’s Foot And Ankle Clincs are well known as one of the most technologically advanced foot and ankle practices in Michigan. Our physicians will carefully craft an individualized treatment plan that embraces your specific injury, anatomy, and even lifestyle (a critically important component when it comes to recovery). We never take a “cookie-cutter approach” to treatment.

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