Bunions, or what podiatrists call hallux abducto valgus deformity, can be described as a deviation of the first toe (big toe) towards the 2nd toe.
This deviation can vary from mild cases, where there is a slight bump on the outside of the big toe joint to severe cases, where the 2nd toe can actually overlap the 1st toe and the big toe joint becomes much more prominent, making it extremely painful to walk, run or even wear shoes.
The main cause of a bunion is instability in the joint causing it to change its position and the position of the muscles, ligaments and bones involved with the joint. Instability within the joint can be brought on by rheumatoid arthritis, poor foot mechanics, such as in flat feet, feet that roll in too much or even having a big toe joint that sits too far back. It can also be caused by having very flexible joints or very wide feet.
Tight, narrow &/or pointed shaped shoes can certainly make the condition worst but is not always the cause.
Podiatrists can help identify the exact cause of the bunion and provide conservative treatment to prevent further complications such as arthritis, joint pain and deformity, especially if the condition begins to present itself in adolescents.
In some cases, surgery is indicated, but this usually occurs as a last resort.
There are several options that podiatrists can discuss with you to help reduce pain & discomfort from this deformity.