Patient Education

What are bunions?

A bunion is excess or misaligned bone at the joint of the toe. It is usually identified by a bony bump on the foot, typically located at the joint under the big toe, as it is the toe that supports most of the body’s weight. Occasionally it can also occur on the fifth, or littlest, toe.

Bunions are one of the most common big-toe problems, causing pain and changing the shape of the foot. With doctor’s assistance, the foot can once again look and feel better.

Types of Bunions
Positional

The joint at the base of the toe enlarges as new bone grows. This causes the joint’s outer covering to stretch. The force of the stretching pushes the big toe towards the smaller toes, and eventually the inside tendons will tighten until the big toe is out of alignment. This allows the bunion to emerge.

Structural
When the joint at the base of the toe shifts position, a bunion can result. This can happen with incorrect foot mechanics. When the angle of the big toe is greater than normal compared to the other toes, it will begin to slant inward until the bunion forms. In more severe cases, the second and third toes can buckle under the pressure of the angled toe.

Causes
  • Incorrect foot mechanics – when the foot flattens too much, forcing the toe’s joint to move beyond its normal range
  • Hereditary Factors
  • Arthritis
  • Foot injury

Important fact: If you are at risk for developing a bunion, wearing poorly-fitted shoes or high heels can heighten the probability of developing bunions.bunion growing on foot

Symptoms

  • Pain on or near the joint of the big toe. 
  • Change in the shape of the foot by the joint of the toe, causing a big bump.

How Bunions Are Treated
If the bunion is not serious
, Dr. Hansen may recommend that a different style of shoe be worn, as this can be a furtherance to bunion growth.

Some types of treatment may also be:

  • Injections
  • Padding to the foot and/or shoe adjustments
  • Orthotics, or custom-made shoe inserts, may also be prescribed in order to help control foot movement

For more severe cases of bunions, outpatient surgery may be recommended.

If you have any further questions regarding bunions, please consult Dr. Hansen at (702)873-8955 or visit http://www.apma.org for more information.


Information retrieved from Krames Communications health print-outs for doctors’ offices.

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