This is a deformity of the big toe (hallux) known as Hallux Abducto Valgus. A prominent bump develops around the big toe joint as the toe moves towards the smaller toes, sometimes crossing over or under them. Another type of bunion, called a Tailor’s bunion or bunionette, affects the little toe as it moves inwards towards the other toes. Bunions can be aggravated by tight, narrow shoes with a pointed toe box but are usually caused by an abnormality in foot function, arthritis or a genetic predisposition to the disorder.
Symptoms: The early stages of a bunion formation usually cause aching in the big toe joint (this is a good time to seek treatment). As the condition progresses the aching usually subsides but is replaced with inflammation, swelling and soreness. Sometimes a corn can develop at the most prominent point of the bunion. The discomfort usually causes the patient to walk improperly which can cause other problems to develop.
Treatment: Early symptoms can be relieved by soaking the feet in warm water, or applying an anti-inflammatory gel like Ibuprofen. Shoes with a wide toe area are recommended and bunion shields are useful in protecting the prominent joint.
It is important to establish whether there is an underlying biomechanical disorder causing the problem. If there is, the use of prescription made orthotics (insole supports) will restore correct foot function, thereby relieving the symptoms and preventing the condition from worsening.