Bunions are a bony deformity of the joint at the base of the big toe.
The main sign of a bunion is the big toe pointing towards the other toes on the same foot and this in turn forces the foot bone attached to the base of the big toe to stick outwards.
Other symptoms include changing of the foot shape, callouses or soreness where the bony areas protrude or where the toes rub against each other and swelling and pain around the big toe and bony joints.
Unfortunately women are more prone to bunions and this is possibly due to footwear worn – e.g. pointed toes and high heels, although I appreciate that you tend to wear open toed sandals rather than closed heeled shoes.
However, bunions do tend to also be of a hereditary nature too.
It is also thought that bunions can occur where there is hyper-flexibility of joints.
Other health conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and gout can increase the incidence of bunions occurring.
Treatment for bunions is limited to providing comfort by means of cushioning, analgesia and the use of orthotics to realign the bones.
The best way to prevent them occurring is by making sure shoes are fitting properly and are supportive to the foot rather than pushing the foot into unnatural positions.
The above treatments are temporary measures and do not prevent the condition or appearance worsening over time.
If bunions become severe, increasingly painful and affect mobility then the best treatment is surgery to reposition the foot bones. There are different surgeries available depending on severity, medical history and age.
Bunions if not treated can lead to further toes becoming out of joint and also arthritis in the affected area.
It would be advisable to seek a GP appointment if mobility is affected so that treatment can be considered.
Answered by the Health at Hand nurses
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