A bunion is a common condition that involves an abnormal, bony bump at the base of the big toe, causing the joint to swell outward and become painful. This often occurs as a result of shoes that do not fit properly, abnormal walking habits or an inherited foot type. The big toe may also turn inward toward the second toe as a result of the enlarged joint, which can then lead to difficulty walking, ingrown toenails and corns and calluses. Bunions can also be caused by injury, birth defects, arthritis or certain neuromuscular disorders.
Mild bunions may be relieved of pain simply by changing shoes, applying ice or taping your foot into a normal position. Medication, orthotics and physical therapy may also be recommended by your doctor. Surgical treatment, usually reserved for more severe cases, can improve pain, inflammation, deformities and stiffness.