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One of the most common foot problems seen by podiatrists is a bunion. Typically recognized as an unsightly bump at the base of the big toe, a bunion is actually a deformity of the framework of the foot. It develops when the joint at the base of the big toe becomes unstable, causing both the bone and soft tissues to move out of place. The bunion’s characteristic bony knob appears on the foot just behind the big toe and angles outward as the big toe angles inward toward the smaller toes. Occasionally, a bunion may develop at the base of the little toe on the outside of the foot. This is known as a tailor’s bunion or bunionette.
Foot mechanics that put too much pressure on the big toe joint may be the reason behind the development of bunions. Factors such as gait, inherited foot type, wearing ill-fitting or poorly designed footwear, as well as having an occupation that puts a lot of stress on the feet can increase the risk that a bunion will form. Individuals affected by injuries to foot alignment, neuromuscular disorders, congenital deformities, or joint conditions are also more likely to develop bunions.
Without the appropriate podiatric care, a bunion can widen the foot, make wearing shoes more difficult and impair daily function. A shifting big toe can put so much pressure on the smaller toes, that they too develop abnormalities. Moreover, the toe joint damage associated with a bunion can cause stiffness, bursitis, or arthritis and give rise to additional complications.
Our podiatrist will evaluate your bunion and develop an appropriate treatment plan. If non-surgical, conservative methods of care fail to provide relief, and the bunion is interfering with your daily life, our podiatrist may recommend a surgical procedure.