Bunions (hallux valgus) are often described as a bump on the side of the big toe. But a bunion is more than that. The visible bump actually reflects changes in the bony framework of the front part of the foot. With a bunion, the big toe leans toward the second toe, rather than pointing straight ahead. This throws the bones out of alignment, producing the bunion's "bump."
Bunions are most often caused by an inherited faulty mechanical structure of the foot. It is not the bunion itself that is inherited, but certain foot types that make a person prone to developing a bunion.
Symptoms, which occur at the site of the bunion, may include:
- Pain or soreness
- Inflammation and redness
- A burning sensation
Early treatments are aimed at easing the pain of bunions.
- Changes in footwear. – Wearing the right kind of shoes is very important. Choose shoes that have a wide toe box and forgo those with pointed toes or high heels which may aggravate the condition.
- Padding – Pads placed over the area of the bunion can help minimize pain. You can get bunion pads from your foot and ankle surgeon or purchase them at a drug
- Activity modifications – Avoid activity that causes bunion pain, including standing for long periods of time.
- Orthotic devices – In some cases, custom orthotic devices may be provided by a Certified Pedorthist to address faulty mechanics that are stressing the joint.