What is a Bunion?
Physicians define a Bunion as a bony bump that forms at the base of your big toe and protrudes to the side. It occurs due to the bones in the toe moving out of place. This causes the tip of the big toe to pull toward the smaller toes and pushes the joint at the base of the big toe to stick outwards. The skin over the bunion might inflame and appear red and sore.
Wearing narrow or uncomfortable shoes may contribute to bunions or cause them to worsen. Bunions may also develop as a result of a foot deformity or medical condition, such as arthritis.
Smaller bunions can also develop on the joint of your little toe.
The symptoms of a bunion can include:
- A bulge on the outside of the joint of your big toe
- Swelling, soreness or redness around the big toe joint
- Corns or calluses often develop between the first and second toes as they rub against each other
- Ongoing pain
- Limited big toe movement
What Causes Bunions?
Specialists theorize about how bunions develop, but no one knows the exact cause. Factors likely include:
- stress or injuries to the foot
- Birth Defects
Experts disagree whether tight shoes cause bunions or whether footwear only partially contributes to the development of bunions.
Bunions might appear alongside certain types of arthritis, most notably inflammatory types, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
To help prevent bunions, patients should choose their shoes carefully. Look for a wide toe box rather than pointy toes, and enough space at the end of the shoe to easily move the toes.
Your shoes should fit to the shape of your feet without squeezing or pressing any part of your foot.
What is a Bunionectomy?
Foot and Ankle Specialists can perform surgery to remove a bunion with several different approaches depending on the patient and the bunion. In most cases, the surgeon will focus on soft tissue repair, combined with an Osteotomy.
Soft Tissue Repair: The surgeon can properly align the toe in a straight position by shortening the ligaments and tendons on one side of the toe and lengthening them on the other.
Osteotomy: meaning “Bone-Cut”, during an osteotomy the surgeon will make tiny cuts into the toe bone to help straighten the toe. Once the specialist balances the joint, they then stabilize the position by inserting small screws or braces to hold the joint in place.