What is a bunion?
In the simplest of terms, a bunion is a large bump that juts out at the base of your big toe. This bony bump forms when your big toe pushes against your next toe, forcing the joint of your big toe to get bigger and stick out. Doctors call that bump hallux valgus, but in layman’s terms, it’s a bunion.
Because that joint at the base of the big toe carries much of your weight while walking, bunions can cause severe and constant pain, making it difficult to wear many shoes.
What causes bunions?
You can inherit a structural defect that causes bunions. They can also be the result of the way you walk, stress on your foot, or a medical condition, such as arthritis. And last, but not least, many experts believe that high-heeled or too-narrow shoes can cause bunions, or at least can contribute to making existing bunions much worse.
What are the symptoms of bunions?
In addition to, or in lieu of, a bulging bump on the outside of the base of your big toe, there are other symptoms that can indicate the presence of a bunion:
- Swelling, redness or soreness around your big toe joint
- Corns or calluses (often where the first and second toes overlap)
- Intermittent or persistent pain
- Restricted movement of your big toe
How to ease bunion pain?
If you think you might have a bunion, talk to your doctor. All bunions are permanent unless surgically corrected, but there are measures you can take to be more comfortable or to slow a bunion’s progression. Nonsurgical treatments that may relieve the pain a bunion include:
- Buy well-fitting shoes – choose low-heeled shoes that provide plenty of space for your toes and good arch support
- Maintain a normal weight
- Use arch supports (shoe inserts) to help position your foot correctly
- Over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen sodium can help you control bunion pain (talk to your doctor first!)
- Icing your bunion can help alleviate soreness and inflammation
If conservative treatments don’t provide relief, and if the pain interferes with your daily activities, your doctor may recommend surgery.
The first thing most experts will recommend for bunions is to wear well-fitting shoes with plenty of toe room! Here at David Parker Shoes, we help customers nearly every day find supportive, comfortable, and stylish shoes to help alleviate painful bunion symptoms. We also use iStep foot scanning technology to custom fit you with Lyncos orthotics. And even if you don’t have bunions, we can help you discover the best shoes for healthy and happy feet!
Photo Credit: By Daniel Max, CC BY 2.0. Click image to view source.