What bunions are and why they form

Bunions are a foot abnormality in which the big toe angles toward the second toe causing the big toe joint to stick out and form a bony bump. You may also get a bunion from putting stress on your foot or from arthritis. Most commonly, it affects women who wear pointed and high-heeled shoes. Over the years of wearing poorly fitting shoes, the foot bone structure changes and forms a bunion.

How to identify a bunion and recognize the symptoms

A bunion is not to be confused with a corn, which is thick, hardened skin that forms and points into the skin, often in the same spot where a bunion might develop. Sometimes, however, a bunion may form a corn, which adds to the painful experience.

A bunion is recognizable from the obvious angle of your big toe leaning in toward your second toe, but may also produce symptoms such as:

  • Pain, redness, swelling
  • Corns, calluses
  • Difficulty moving your big toe

For the most part, bunions are uncomfortable and inconvenient, but treatable.

Treating bunions before they get worse

There are many non-surgical options available to help people with bunions, but if the bunion is still causing you problems, you may need to consult with a foot and ankle surgeon. An X-ray will show the doctor how much your foot structure has changed and whether surgery is right for you.

To schedule an appointment with a specialist at Main Line Health, call 1.866.CALL.MLH (1.866.225.5654) or use our secure online appointment request form.