A bunion is a thickened lump at the base of the big toe. It causes the big toe to move toward the smaller toes. It can make walking difficult.
Bunions are caused by a deformity of the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint at the base of the big toe. This causes instability of the joint.
Deformity can be caused by:
Factors that increase your chance of getting a bunion include:
You should seek medical attention if you have diabetes and you are having problems with your feet.
The doctor will examine your foot and ask about your symptoms. An x-ray of your foot will be used to diagnose a bunion. It will also show the amount of damage.
The goals of treatment are to relieve pressure on the bunion and stop progression of the deformity.
Padding the bunion may reduce pain and allow you to continue a normal, active life.
Taping helps to keep the foot in a normal position, reducing stress and pain.
Medication may be used to ease pain and inflammation, including:
Wear shoes that are wide and deep in the toe area. Make sure the top of the shoe doesn't hit or rub against the bunion. There should be half an inch of space between the shoe and the end of your longest toe when you are standing.
Physical therapy can relieve inflammation and pain. Ultrasound therapy is often used to treat bunions and related soft tissue problems.
Shoe inserts may help maintain foot function. They may reduce symptoms and prevent worsening of the deformity.
Surgery may be needed to relieve the pressure and repair the toe joint, if the other treatments fail. Surgical procedures include:
If you are diagnosed as having a bunion, follow your doctor's instructions.
These tips can help to protect your feet and possibly reduce the risk of bunion:
American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society
American Podiatric Medical Association
Ontario Podiatric Medical Association
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Foot care. National Institute on Aging website. Available at: http://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/foot-care. Updated April 18, 2012. Accessed April 4, 2013.
Maffulli N, Longo UG, Marinozzi A, Denaro V. Hallux valgus: effectiveness and safety of minimally invasive surgery. A systematic review. Br Med Bull . 2011;97:149-167.
Wexler D, Kile TA. Frontera: Essentials of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation . Philadelphia, PA; Hanley and Belfus; 2002.
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