What Is a Bunion?
A bunion, while appearing like a bump on your big toe, is actually a change in the bone of the front of your foot. The bunion causes the big toe to lean towards the second toe, which throws the bones out of alignment, making the "bump."

What Causes a Bunion?
Bunions are usually caused by your genes-someone in your family had an unusual foot structure, and you inherited that structure. While wearing shoes that crowd your toes won't actually  cause  the bunion to start with, they can make the inherited deformity worse as time goes on, which means you might have symptoms sooner than if you wore proper shoes for your foot type.

As stated just above, symptoms usually present when wearing improper shoes-ones that crowd the toes with a tight shoe box or high heels. Spending long periods of time on your feet can also cause aggravation of a bunions symptoms. Actual symptoms include:

  • Pain, or soreness
  • Inflammation and redness
  • Burning sensation
  • Numbness
  • Calluses on the big toe
  • Sores between the toes
  • Ingrown toenail
  • Limited movement of the big toe

While bunions are easily visible, your podiatrist may order X-rays to determine the degree of the deformity and look at what changes have occurred beneath the skin. Because bunions are progressive, they don't go away, and will most likely get worse as time goes on. However, some may get worse faster than others. Once the podiatrist has fully evaluated your foot, a treatment plan will be made with you, tailored to your particular needs.

An illustration of a bunion. The red line demonstrates how the big toe is
curving into the second toe, while the red area shows the deformity itself.