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Bunions are more common in women and can sometimes run in families. However, there are certain risk factors for bunions. People born with abnormal bones in their feet are more likely to form a bunion and wearing narrow-toed, high-heeled shoes may lead to the development of a bunion.
The condition may become painful as the bump gets worse, and extra bone and a fluid-filled sac grow at the base of the big toe.
Some symptoms of a bunion include:
- Red, calloused skin along the inside edge of the big toe
- A bony bump at this site
- Pain over the joint, which pressure from shoes makes worse
- Big toe turned toward the other toes
Signs and tests
Diagnosing a bunion is generally relatively easy. A doctor can usually diagnose a bunion by looking at it. A foot X-ray can show an abnormal angle between the big toe and the foot. In some cases, arthritis may also be seen.
When a bunion first begins to develop, take good care of your feet.
- Wear wide-toed shoes. This can often solve the problem and prevent you from needing more treatment.
- Wear felt or foam pads on your foot to protect the bunion, or devices called spacers to separate the first and second toes. These are available at drugstores.
- Try cutting a hole in a pair of old, comfortable shoes to wear around the house.
If the bunion gets worse and more painful, surgery to realign the toe and remove the bony bump (bunionectomy) can be effective. <!--REPLACE-->Lehigh Valley Health Network has several surgeons who specialize in the treatment of bunions. There are more than 100 different surgical procedures to treat this condition.
You will have the best outcome if you take care of the bunion when it first starts to develop, and wear different shoes. Teenagers may have more trouble treating a bunion than adults.
Surgery reduces the pain in many, but not all, people with bunions. After surgery, people often have trouble wearing tight, fashionable shoes.
Make an appointment with one of our specialists if the bunion:
- Continues to cause pain even after self-care, such as wearing wide-toed shoes
- Prevents you from doing your usual activities
- Has any signs of infection (like redness or swelling), especially if you have diabetes