What is a bunion?
Bunions are a lump at the big toe joint, they are a very common problem affecting women more than men. All bunions are different, some bunions can be extremely painful, make footwear difficult to fit and reduce your balance. There is a strong genetic link, so if a family member has a bunion, you may develop one also. How you walk and the footwear you choose may also contribute to the development of a bunion.
What does a bunion look like?
- A bony bump on the side of your forefoot, at the base of your big toe
- Pain at this joint – the discomfort may come and go, it can feel painful, achy, stiff, tingling or burning.
- Swelling around the joint and redness from footwear rubbing
- Hard skin on the side of the big toe
- Overlapping or pushing against the 2nd toe
What can I do to treat my bunion?
While you can often live with bunions, they can be painful, uncomfortable and unsightly. If your bunion is affecting your daily activities or sport, then there are conservative treatment options to help manage your bunion.
- Changing your shoes to something with more room for your toes
- Padding, taping or splinting your foot
- Using shoe inserts (orthotics), to relieve the discomfort caused by a bunion.
- Doing foot exercises and stretches to reduce and relieve pain.
- Toe wedge to separate your 1st and 2nd toes
Do I need bunion surgery?
If you have explored your conservative treatment options then surgery is recommended for correcting the bunion deformity permanently. The operation involves realigning the big toe joint and soft tissue, then securing the bone with a screw/k-wire. You need to be prepared to rest and recuperate, but there is usually minimal discomfort and you can walk straight away in a postoperative shoe. The outcome of the surgery is a functioning big toe joint, with improved stability and appearance.