A bunion is a bump on the side of the big toe. The visible bump reflects changes in the bone framework of the front part of the foot. The big toe leans toward the second toe, rather than pointing straight ahead. Bunions are a progressive disorder. They begin with a leaning of the big toe, gradually changing the angle of the bones over the years and slowly producing the bump.
One of the main reasons for developing bunions is wearing tight, high-heeled, or too-narrow shoes. They can also develop when the pressures of bearing and shifting the weight fall unevenly on the joints and tendons in the feet. Bunions may also be associated with certain types of arthritis, particularly inflammatory types, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Some people may have a genetic predisposition to bunions.
Tips for relief from a bunion
• Apply an ice pack two to three times daily to help reduce swelling if a bunion becomes inflamed or painful.
• Place a non-medicated bunion pad over the area to reduce pain
• Avoid activity that causes pain, including standing for long periods of time.
• Consult a doctor if the bunion is still causing pain.
Tips for prevention
• The shoes should conform to the shape of the feet without squeezing or pressing any part of the foot.
• Make sure that shoes don't cramp or irritate the toes.
• Avoid pointy-toed shoes.
• Use shoe inserts to help position the foot correctly.
• Wear flat or low-heeled, wide-fitting shoes if you have a bunion. Shoes made from soft leather will help relieve pressure on the bunion.