A bunion is a bony growth that develops on the base of your big toe. This growth takes place right where the big toe connects to the foot. This happens when your big toe is forced up against the neighboring toe. The force makes the joint of your big toe stick further and further out. Sometimes bunions may become red and feel extremely painful. A bunion may occur due to a medical condition like arthritis, a defect from birth, or stress on your foot. Wearing shoes that are too tight will typically worsen the bunion.
A bunion may not require any special medical treatment. However, it may be necessary to visit your podiatrist if you are experiencing continuous pain in your big toe area, have noticed a decline in the mobility of your big toe or entire foot, have trouble finding shoes that fit, or have a visible growth on your big toe.
Treatment for your bunion will depend on the size of the growth and the intensity of pain. Pain medications, application of ice packs, padding/taping/splinting, purchasing shoe inserts or roomier shoes may all relieve the discomfort of a bunion. If conservative treatments are not effective, you may require bunion surgery ("bunionectomy").
During bunion surgery, your podiatric surgeon will create an incision on top of or on the side of the big toe. The surrounding soft tissue and bone will be surgically removed. The purpose of bunion surgery is to restore normal alignment and weight-bearing distribution to your foot, relieve pain and discomfort, and improve mobility and life satisfaction.
You may be able to ambulate with your big toe following bunion surgery, but it is advisable to give yourself time for full recovery. This may take many weeks or even months. After the surgery, it is important to follow the recommendations of your doctor and wear properly-fitting shoes to minimize recurrence.
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