A bunion is deformity of the base joint of the big toe and the exact cause is still not clear in most cases. The deformity can cause the foot to rub against shoes which triggers pain and inflammation.
Proper footwear is all that is required to alleviate the symptoms. In some cases, a surgical procedure to fix the deformity is a possible option if good footwear could not ease the symptoms.
What are the causes?
The underlying cause is deformity of the joint which develops an evident sideways angle. This deformity causes the bones of the big toe to drive towards the smaller toes.
The skin over the angled position is likely to rub against the inside of the shoes. This can lead to thickening and inflammation of the overlying skin and tissues close to the affected joint.
In most instances, it is not clear why the deformity develops. There might be a genetic tendency to develop weakness of the joint. There are cases in which it is linked with a joint issue such as rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis.
Depending on the underlying cause, using tight or ill-fitting shoes can worsen the condition. Wearing these shoes places excess pressure on the big toe which results to friction on the overlying skin.
What are the symptoms and issues caused by a bunion?
- Pain that causes difficulty walking
- Swelling and inflammation at the base of the toe
- Development of arthritis in the big toe
- Foot can become wide which makes it difficult to find shoes that are wide enough
- The second toe can become deformed
- The big toe can push the second toe out of place in severe cases
Using proper footwear will not cure the deformity but eases the pain and discomfort. Other considerations include the following:
- Wear trainers, shoes or slippers that properly fit and have enough space.
- Avoid wearing high-heeled, tight or pointed shoes.
- Place padding over the bunion or apply an ice pack.
- Shoes that have straps or laces are ideal since they can be adjusted to the width of the foot.
Pain medications such as ibuprofen or paracetamol can be given to reduce the pain. In case the skin and tissues over the deformity becomes infected, a course of antibiotics is required.