A bunion is a change to the bone structure at the base of the big toe. It is an enlargement of the joint and a change in direction of where the big toe “points” towards the second toe. The change in direction leads to an increase in the size of the joint, and often the formation of an overlying bursa which may appear red and swollen. (A bursa is a fluid filled sack that lies under the skin but over the joint, it acts as the body’s way of protecting the joint).
The biggest factor in determine whether or not you will get a bunion is genetics. However, some bunions develop after specific trauma or as part of the development of rheumatoid arthritis. Wearing ill-fitting shoes is likely to make an existing bunion worse.
The most appropriate thing to do is to ensure your footwear fits well as it will ease the rate of discomfort by not rubbing against the bunion. Shoes with fastenings can maximise width and comfort.
If your bunion is painful, over-the-counter painkillers may be recommended as well as bunion pads to ease the pain.
Although orthotics cannot reverse any damage done to the bone structure but can help with pain free walking when worn in appropriate footwear. Surgery is available but non-surgical treatments are preferable to try in the first instance.