A bunion is a bony deformity of the joint at the base of your big toe. It can form when the big toe pushes against the other toes, in turn causing the foot bone to stick out. Bunions can also develop as a result of genetic foot conditions, pressure on the foot, or a medical condition such as arthritis. Small bunions, known as bunionettes, can also develop on the joint of the little toes.



The most common signs and symptoms of a bunion include:


  • A swollen bump on the outside edge of the big toe
  • Pain, redness and soreness around the big toe
  • Thickening of the skin around the big toe
  • Inability to move the big toe
  • Changes to the shape of the foot
  • Corns or calluses (often develop when the first and second toes overlap)
  • Difficulty wearing shoes



Bunions often develop when there is an increased pressure on the joints and tendons in the feet. The uneven balance of pressure makes the big toe unstable and molds the parts of the joint into a hard knot that sticks outward. Other causes include:


  • Foot injuries
  • Deformities present at birth
  • Genetic foot conditions
  • Association with arthritis


Risk factors

There are some factors that may cause risk increase of developing a bunion. These risk factors include:


  • Wearing high heels
  • Wearing shoes that are too tight, too narrow, or too pointed and apply pressure to the foot
  • Inheriting a structural foot defect
  • Arthritis



Complications of a developing a bunion may include:


  • Hammertoe: contracture or bending in the toe joint (usually the one next to the big toe)
  • Bursitis: Inflammation of the fluid-filled pads (bursae) that act as cushions at the joints.
  • Metatarsalgia: Pain that occurs in the front section of the foot



A few simple actions that can help prevent developing a bunion are:


  • Wearing proper foot attire
  • Choosing shoes with broad toe box
  • Choosing shoes that don’t squeeze or put pressure on the foot
  • Avoiding pointy-toed shoes