What is a Bunion?

If you notice a bony bump on the joint of your big toe, you may have a bunion. This sometimes painful deformity is caused by your big toe pushing against your next toe, which in turn causes the joint on your big toe to become bigger and stick out. Bunions – along with bunionettes or tailor’s bunions, which appear on the joint of the smallest toe – are common in people of all ages and ethnicities, but tend to occur most often among women and older people.

What Causes Bunions?

It’s unclear whether or not bunions are caused by tight or high-heeled shoes, but these types of shoes definitely make them worse. Bunions can also develop after a foot injury or because of a medical condition like arthritis. People who stand all day are more susceptible to bunions because their feet are pressing against their shoes all day.

Bunions are also more common in people with certain foot shapes and types, which means they can run in families since these traits are inherited.

What Should I Do if I Think I Have a Bunion?
First, you should see a doctor or podiatrist to make sure the growth on your foot isn’t caused by something else, such as an inflamed joint, bursitis or osteoarthritis. If it’s a bunion, the professional will suggest a range of treatments depending on its severity and the amount of pain you’re in. For smaller bunions and mild discomfort, treatments may include:
  • Round-toed shoes that fit properly instead of high heeled or pointy-toed shoes
  • Orthotic inserts for your shoes 
  • Non-medicated bunion pads 
  • Over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen
If these options don’t work, your podiatrist can tape or splint your foot into a more natural position to make you more comfortable. A cortisone shot may also be needed for pain relief.

If none of these treatments help, or if your bunion is too severe, you may need surgery. This operation can be performed by a podiatrist or orthopaedic surgeon and may include removing swollen tissue or straightening your toe by removing some of the protruding bone. Surgery is a last resort and only suggested if the bunion is causing too much pain or interfering with your daily life.

If you think you have a bunion, see a podiatrist at your local foot clinic before it gets worse. At Edmonton Foot Health Clinic, we help people from all over Edmonton with their foot pain. We offer convenient evening hours and are open one Saturday a month in order to fit into your schedule. Call us now to make an appointment.
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