What is a bunion?
A bunion is a deformity of the bone causing the big toe to angle towards the 2nd toe creating a bony lump on the side of the toe.
What causes a bunion?
- Family history has a significant role
- Arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout or psoriatic arthritis
- Wearing tight fitting pointed shoes over a long period of time
- Other conditions with poor muscle control and ligament laxity
What are the signs and symptoms?
- Pain over the big toe and difficulty with walking
- Swollen bony bump at the base of the big toe
- Hard red skin around the prominent bony lump which may be a bursitis
- Bursitis may be due to a localised inflammation of the soft tissue caused by rubbing against your footwear.
- In severe cases the big toe angulation may start putting pressure on the other toes changing the shape of your foot
How do I manage this problem?
- Pain killers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen may help your pain
- Wear shoes that have enough space around the toes
- You can also try bunion pads bought from your chemist
- Ice packs can be used in acute painful conditions
What other treatments are available?
If your symptoms are ongoing over 3 months despite trying other treatment methods
- Pain medications: Your GP may consider giving you stronger pain killers or anti-inflammatory for you to return to you normal activity
- Podiatry: A podiatrist may be able to offer orthotics to ease the pressure around the big toe.
- Steroid injections: If arthritic changes are present along with a small bunion, a steroid injection may be recommended.
- Specialist opinion: Symptoms lasting over 6 months despite treatment may need a specialist opinion
- X-ray: if your bunion is severe an x-ray may help the specialist to decide on surgery
- Surgery: Is rarely needed
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