As with most health conditions surrounding your feet, you don’t even think about it until one day you feel pain or your feet hurt from wearing shoes. Depending on when you feel or see it, bunion on either or booth feet can seem to suddenly appear and then they can become a daily hassle. (technical name is hallux valgus)
The word “bunion” comes from the Greek word for turnip, and the bump on the inside of the foot typically looks red and swollen like a turnip. Your big toe is made up of two joints. The largest of the two is the metatarsophalangeal joint (MTP), where the first long bone of the foot (metatarsal) meets the first bone of the toe (phalanx). Bunions develop at the MTP joint.
The signs and symptoms of a bunion include:
- A bulging bump on the outside of your big toe, also called great toe
- Hard bump expanding from side of small or pinky toe (bunionette)
- Swelling, redness or soreness around your big toe joint
- Persistent or intermittent pain in the area
- Limited or painful movement of your big toe
Why and how bunions develop
Bunions develop slowly. Pressure on the big toe joint causes the big toe to lean toward the second toe. Over time, the normal structure of the bone changes, resulting in the bunion bump. This deformity will gradually increase and may make it painful to wear shoes or walk. Anyone can get a bunion, but they are more common in women due wearing narrow shoes that squeeze the toes together—which makes it more likely for a bunion to develop, worsen and cause painful symptoms.
Over time, abnormal motion and pressure on the joint forces the big toe to bend toward the others and bone or tissue at the joint at the bottom of the big toe moves out of place. The result is often-painful boney lump on the joint that sticks out making shoes ill fitting and discomfort in many cases. Remember, high heels put pressure on the front of your foot which other problems besides bunions. Also, refrain from wearing shoes that are snug, pointed or crowd your toes.
Common causes include:
- Inherited foot disorder or movement.
- Foot injuries
- Deformities present at birth (congenital)
As expected, a bunion can adversely effect your activities, job performance and overall well-being. If pain, swelling or any other discomfort persists be sure to see a Podiatrist, a doctor who can diagnose and treat conditions of the foot, ankle, and related structures
of the leg. Most of us can diagnose a bunion ourselves but the doctor can rule out something perhaps more serious or help you find a solution to make you feel better.
So, how to beat the bunion blues?
Bunions are very common so you have one you are not alone; there are more than 3 million US cases per year. Most bunions pain free and can be managed by simply protecting your feet from further wear and tear by getting footwear that utilizes orthotic design to aid in proper foot movement and support. One U.S. based company, Aetrex, orthotics are technically designed to give your feet the best comfort and minimize risk of further problems. Besides slip in orthotics, Aetrex designs and produces footwear (aetrex.com) and offers a wide selection and fashionable shoe choices that also give healthy support and proper fit to ward off future foot ailments.