Bunions are notoriously uncomfortable, and can interfere with normal physical activities such as walking or exercising. Although a bunion may appear to be a growth on the skin, it is actually a disorder caused from a misalignment of the bones of the feet. The most common type of bunion affects the joint connecting your big toe to your foot (called the metatarsophalangeal joint, or MTP joint), causing the joint to protrude or jut out from the foot at an angle. Bunions can also develop on the opposite side of your foot (near your little toe), in which case they are called “bunionettes” or “tailor’s bunions.”
Bunions typically develop as a result of repetitive pressure and stress on the bones of the feet due to wearing shoes that do not provide enough room for the toes (i.e., high heels, pointed-toe shoes, etc.). This could partially explain why women suffer from bunions nearly 10 times more than men. Bunions often irritate the skin and can cause redness and swelling at the MTP joint. Your big toe can also begin to point towards your other toes, and it may become increasingly difficult to find shoes that fit well without rubbing against the bunion. As a result, you may notice that the shoes that you used to wear are now too restrictive, and may be causing you discomfort.
So what can be done to remedy the situation? One practical step you can take is to start wearing shoes that offer plenty of room for your toes. In addition, shoes that lace up or buckle tend to provide more support than slip-on shoes. It is also recommended that you avoid wearing high heels or other narrow-toed shoes as much as possible. There are several pads available that are designed to cover your bunion and keep it from rubbing against your shoes. In addition, you can buy insoles that will help keep pressure off your bunion when you walk.
If your bunion is more severe, surgery may be required, because it may get worse over time if it goes untreated. Since there are several different types of bunion surgery options available, it is best to consult with a qualified podiatrist before coming to any final decisions.