The medical name for a bunion or bunionette is hallux abducto valgus. It is characterized by medial deviation of the first metatarsal and lateral deviation of the hallux, or big toe. It is often erroneously described as an enlargement of the bone or tissue around the joint at the head of the big toe.
Bunions can form from shoes that are too tight and come to a point or by your gait. They may also be due to genetic abnormalities.
The bump itself is partly due to the swollen bursal sac or an osseous (bony) anomaly on the metatarsophalangeal joint. The larger part of the bump is a normal part of the head of the first metatarsal bone that has tilted sideways to stick out at its top.
A bunion is a structural deformity of the bones and the joint between the foot and big toe, and is frequently painful.
The symptoms of bunions include irritated skin around the bunion, pain when walking, joint redness and pain, and possible shift of the big toe toward the other toes.
Bunions are caused by a biomechanical abnormality, where certain tendons, ligaments, and supportive structures of the first metatarsal are no longer functioning correctly. This biomechanical abnormality may be caused by a variety of conditions intrinsic to the structure of the foot--such as flat feet, excessive ligamentous flexibility, abnormal bone structure, and certain neurological conditions.
Bunions may be treated with changes in shoe gear, or we can prescribe orthotics. These sorts of treatments address symptoms more than they correct the actual deformity. Corrective surgery may be necessary if discomfort is severe or when correction of the deformity is desirable for the continued health of your feet.
Bunionettes are caused by an inflammation of the fifth metatarsal bone at the base of the little toe. It is mostly similar to a bunion (the same type of ailment affecting the big toe). It is sometimes called Tailor's Bunion because in past centuries, tailors sat cross-legged and this was thought to cause this protrusion on the outside of the foot. It is usually characterized by inflammation, pain and redness of the little toe.
We can prescribe shoes, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs injections, pads and ice packs for bunions and bunionettes. If your condition is severe, we can discuss surgical options to get you the relief you need.