Bunions, also called hallux valgus, are bony bumps on the side of the big toe. They are caused by the hallux (the big toe) leaning towards the second toe instead of pointing straight ahead. This leaning throws the bones out of alignment and produces the bunion’s “bump”. It is a progressive disorder with symptoms usually appearing at later stages – although some people never experience the symptoms!
The main symptoms are pain and redness at the site of the bunion, with burning sensation and numbness possible. Wearing wider shoes can give the bunion more room and reduce pain. Having a flexible type of foot causes a person to be more prone to developing bunions. The bunion may also cause crowding of the smaller toes, resulting in hammertoes or even a crossover toe.
Because bunions are progressive, they won’t just go away. Sometimes oral anti-inflammatories, icing, and/or a steroid injection may help. Orthotics can help slow the progression of the bunion by reducing flexibility in overly-limber feet. In some cases, surgery is needed if conservative treatment is not reducing the pain.
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