A bunion is a prominence at the base of the great toe that leads to shoe wear difficulty, pain and swelling. The deformity is caused by the 1st metatarsal (the long bone in the foot) spread inward and the great toe turned outward toward the 2nd toe. Other toe deformities may occur as a result of the abnormal position of the great toe.
There are many causes for the development of a bunion. Heredity plays a role. Some people are born with a foot shape that can lead to a bunion. Shoes that are tight and constrictive often accelerate the formation of a bunion. An estimated 85% of bunions occur in women. A bunion may lead to great toe arthritis over time.
The diagnosis of a bunion is based on examination and X-ray evaluation. There are various types of bunion deformities, and treatment is based on the type of deformity. The primary treatment option is to alter shoe wear. Wear shoes that do not cramp the forefoot. Prescription shoes or orthotics may help. Bunion pads are available, but may be too bulky to fit in shoes.
Surgery can correct painful bunions. There are several surgical procedures depending on the severity of the deformity. Most involve realigning a bone to achieve correction. Surgery is performed as an outpatient with a nerve block and sedation.
If you have questions, or would like an evaluation, please call 727-446-5993 (ext. 110) to make an appointment with Richard V. Abdo, M.D.