Bunions are bony growths that form on the joint of your big toe. A similar growth called a bunionette can affect the same joint on your baby toe. Bunions can occur due to medical or genetic conditions or may be triggered by the overlapping of your first and second toes.
Exact reasons for bunion development aren’t often known. Wearing narrow, tight, or high-heeled footwear is recognized as a risk factor that increases your chances of developing bunions. People with rheumatoid arthritis are more likely to get bunions, and you may even inherit a foot structure that predisposes you to bunions.
A bunion may be strictly a cosmetic issue, causing no pain or other complications, but not everyone with bunions is so lucky. The affected joint can become swollen and painful, with red, irritated skin. Calluses or corns may develop where your toes overlap. Since bunions involve bone deformity, they won’t heal without intervention.
Toes with bunions may develop bursitis, an inflammation of the bursa sac, a small fluid-filled pad that acts as a cushion between bones. Once inflamed, the bursa can cause pain. Hammertoe is a condition where the middle joint of a toe bends abnormally causing pressure and pain. For those with bunions, hammertoe often develops in the second toe. A painful inflammatory condition called metatarsalgia may also occur in the ball of your foot.
Dr. Rosen has two goals for bunion treatment: relieving the pain and pressure of the bunion and interrupting the bunion’s progression. Techniques to accomplish these are many, ranging from mild padding up to surgery.
Common procedures to reduce the pain and pressure of bunions include: