A bunion is a bony protuberance that extends from the base of the big toe, forming a lump or bump on the side of the foot. They form when the big toe is pushed out of its normal alignment and the upper portion of the toe is pressed inward, causing the joint at the base of the toe to gradually become deformed. While bunions in their early stages may be relatively small, without proper treatment, the joint deformity can eventually cause the toe to cross over the neighboring toes, making it extremely difficult to find shoes that fit properly. The skin over the deformed joint often forms calluses, corns, and blisters as a result of increased friction with shoe surfaces.
Bunions can form as a result of ill-fitting shoes – particularly shoes that crowd the toes, including high heels that force the toes into a cramped space. They’re also more common among people with specific inherited foot shapes.
In their very early stages, bunions may be treated by switching to shoes that offer plenty of room for the toes and by avoiding high heels. Stretching and massaging the joint can prevent it from becoming stiff, and temporary night splints can help the joint resume its normal alignment over time. Custom orthotics can also help provide support for people who are prone to bunion formation. When bunions are more severe or the joint has become stiff and inflexible, surgery can help.
Bunion surgery uses small incisions to access the deformed joint so it can be repositioned and secured with tiny pins or screws. In some cases, the joint will be fused, and some bone tissue may need to be removed to achieve a more normal foot shape and relieve symptoms of pain. A cast or special surgical boot will need to be worn during recovery to encourage healing and to keep the joint properly supported.
Check out the before and after gallery here!
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