A bunion is a bone deformity caused by an enlargement of the joint at the base and side of the big toe (metatarsophalangeal joint). Bunions form when the toe moves out of place. The enlargement and its protuberance cause friction and pressure as they rub against footwear. Without intervention from a Seattle podiatrist, the movement of the big toe angles in toward the other toes, sometimes overlapping a third toe (known as Hallux Valgus). The growing enlargement or protuberance then causes more irritation or inflammation. In some cases, the big toe moves toward the second toe and rotates or twists, which is known as Hallus Abducto Valgus. Bunions can also lead to other toe deformities, such as hammertoe.
Many people with bunions suffer from discomfort and pain from the constant irritation, rubbing, and friction of the enlargement against shoes. The skin over the toe becomes red and tender. Because this joint flexes with every step, the bigger the bunion gets, the more it hurts to walk. Over time, bursitis or arthritis may set in, the skin on the bottom of the foot may become thicker, and everyday walking may become difficult--all contributing to chronic pain.
Wearing shoes that are too tight is the leading cause of bunions. Bunions are not hereditary, but they do tend to run in families, usually because of a faulty foot structure. Foot injuries, neuromuscular problems, flat feet, and pronated feet can contribute to their formation. It is estimated that bunions occur in 33 percent of the population in Western countries.
In minor cases, pain and inflammation from bunions can be reduced by utilizing anti-inflammatory medicines, wearing comfortable shoes or utilizing bandage to cover the region to reduce friction against shoes. In many cases, corrective surgery is required to remove the bone deformity and realign the bone. The following video shows the extent of this procedure.
There is no need to live with chronic pain and discomfort. At the earliest sign of bunions, we recommend making an appointment with our team at Integrative Foot & Ankle Centers of Washington. There, we can help to diagnose your concerns and make a plan of action that targets the causes of your discomfort, eliminating the symptoms at the source.
Call us today at (425) 678-3877 to find out how we can help you!