A bunion is a bony lump that develops at the joint where the big toe meets the rest of the foot. This often causes the big toe to point inward toward the other toes. This is also the joint where the toe bends as a person walks, which is subject to a lot of pressure with every step taken. Bunions can be quite painful and certain styles of shoes only exacerbate the pain and the distortion with excessive pressure and rubbing. Calluses can develop on the bump as well.
Bunions can be caused by a number of factors. Most often, they are brought on by genetics and worsen as a person ages. Other culprits include arthritis and poor or deteriorating foot structure which can also contribute to the development of bunions and affect the overall health of the foot. Women who wear shoes with high heels or pointed toes are at a greater risk of developing bunions since these shoes typically put excessive pressure on the toes.
If the condition is found to be severe and debilitating enough, the doctor will most typically suggest surgery. The operation is recommended when an individual’s everyday life and tasks are impeded by the bunion. The surgeon will make incisions into the ligaments surrounding the affected joint to re-adjust the bone. He may install wires and screws to hold the big toe in place during recovery. In some cases, excess bone might also be shaved down while in surgery. Or the bone may be fused to prevent it from moving back to the unwanted position. Bunion surgery procedures usually last about an hour, but the length of time will vary depending on the severity of the bunion.
Surgery is the only way to get rid of bunions, but there are steps that a person can take to alleviate the pain associated with a bunion including:
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