A bunion is known as a hallux valgus among doctors and is a type of deformity in the base joint of a big toe. Not only does it make your feet look uneven, it can also cause pain, swelling, and discomfort especially when you’re wearing the wrong shoes.

Causes of Bunions
Most doctors cannot pinpoint the cause of bunions in most patients with the condition, but they can locate where the deformity is. The big toe is angled towards the next toe, causing a bump to form on the side of the big toe’s base. As a result, the tissues and the skin surrounding the deformed joint, called the metatarsophalangeal joint or MTP, becomes thick. In some cases, a bursa or a sac filled with fluid forms on the joint. The joint deformity is called hallux valgus, causing the bones of the big toe to push the other toes due to its sideways angle. “Hallux” is a Latin word which means big toe, while “valgus” refers to the action of turning away from the body’s midline.

Some doctors point to genes as a determining factor, while others are the result of joint problems like rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. The condition can run in families especially if most of the members have feet with low arches, loose joints, have flat feet, or have loose tendons. The structure and shape of the feet, such as the roundness of the metatarsal head,can also increase the risk of getting bunions especially if you’re not wearing the right footwear.

Bunions in most women, however, are the result of repeatedly squeezing their feet into narrow, pointed-toe footwear that sometimes even come with high heels. This habit can put pressure on some parts of the feet especially the joints in the toes, because the body’s weight is pushed forward.

Bunions also tend to develop among people whose occupations require hours of standing and walking.

Treatment of Bunions
The symptoms of bunions include pain, difficulty walking, inflammation of the base of the toe, infection of the toe, widening of the foot, difficulty finding shoes that will fit and feel comfortable, arthritis on the big toe, and deformation of the second toe.

Some people ignore bunions, but it’s important to get it treated because the MTP is supposed to help the feet distribute the weight of the body evenly. Ignoring the pain can lead to other more serious problems in the future, such as hammertoes, corns, foot impairment, ingrown nails, bursitis, and misshapen joints.

The simplest way to get rid of the pain is to wear comfortable shoes that are flexible, wide, and have correct support for the feet. You can also ease the pain with occasional cold compresses or the use of bunion pads and shoe inserts.

The doctor might also recommend that you take over-the-counter painkillers to ease the swelling. For people with other joint conditions or those who suffer from severe pain, prescription-strength drugs are recommended, while some cases require physiotherapy and surgery.