A bunion is a bony bump that forms on the joint at the base of the big toe. It is caused by a misalignment of the bone, and can result in pain, inflammation, and difficulty walking.
Bunions can grow over time if they are left untreated. This can be caused by factors such as:
- Wearing ill-fitting shoes, such as those with a narrow toe box or high heels, which can put pressure on the bunion and cause it to grow.
- Certain medical conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, which can cause inflammation and damage to the joint.
- Repetitive stress or injury to the foot.
- Certain occupations or activities that put stress on the feet, such as dancers or athletes.
It's important to address bunions early on, as early treatment can help to slow down or stop the progression of the condition. This may include:
- Wearing comfortable and wide shoes that have enough room for the toes.
- Using bunion pads or splints to help realign the toe and reduce pain.
- Taking over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
- Physical therapy to help increase flexibility and strength in the foot.
In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to correct the misalignment and alleviate pain. It's important to consult with a board-certified foot and ankle surgeon to determine if surgery is the best option for you and to understand the risks, benefits and recovery process.