Bunion

A bunion is a thickened lump at the base of the big toe. It is the result of the movement of the base of the big toe away from the smaller toes. At the same time, the top of the big toe moves toward the smaller toes. This instability creates metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint inflammation and bursitis at the base of the big toe.

  • Causes

    The exact cause of bunions is unknown, but it is likely a combination of genetics and environmental factors.

  • Definition

    A bunion is a thickened lump at the base of the big toe. It is the result of the movement of the base of the big toe away from the smaller toes. At the same time, the top of the big toe moves toward the smaller toes. This instability creates metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint inflammation and bursitis at the base of the big toe.

    Bunion
    IMAGE
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

  • Diagnosis

    The doctor will examine your foot and ask about your symptoms. An x-ray of your foot will be used to diagnose the bunion. It will also show the severity and amount of damage.

  • Prevention

    To help reduce your chance of getting a bunion, take these steps:

    • Wear wide toed shoes and comfortable footwear that do not pinch the toes.
    • Prevent a minor bunion from worsening with bunion pads and proper shoes.

  • Risk Factors

    Bunions are more common in women than in men. Other factors that may increase your chance of getting a bunion include:

    • Structural deformities in the foot, which may be related to genetics
    • Family history of foot disorders
    • Certain conditions, such as cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, or Marfan syndrome
    • Flat feet, which transfers too much weight to the MTP joint
    • Activities that put undue stress on the foot, such as ballet
    • High-heel shoes
    • Poorly fitting, narrow shows
    • Diabetes

    You should seek medical attention if you have diabetes and you are having problems with your feet.

  • Symptoms

    Bunions may cause:

    • Tip of the big toe that turns in toward the other toes and may overlap the second or third toe
    • Firm bump on the outside edge of the foot or at the base of the big toe
    • Restricted or painful motion of the big toe
    • Foot pain and stiffness
    • Fluid-filled cyst between the skin and the bony lump

  • Treatment

    The goals of treatment are to relieve pressure on the bunion and stop progression of the deformity.