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Bunions – Symptoms, Causes and Risk factors

When a bony bump is formed in the joint at the base of your big toe, then you have bunion. When this happens, your big toe is pushing against your next toe, then your joint is getting bigger and also it is sticking out. In this situation the bunion is formed. If you have bunions, then the skin over your bunion is sore and red. If you are wearing narrow and tight shoes, then they can cause you bunion. Also this kind of shoe will worsen your condition. Your bunions can be a result of medical condition such as arthritis, stress on your foot and inherited structural defect. Also this situation can happen on your little toes and in this case you have small bunions which are known as bunionettes. [1]

Bunion – Symptoms and Causes

The signs and symptoms of bunions are:

  • Persistent pain
  • Soreness, swelling and redness around your big toe joint
  • Intermittent pain
  • A bulging bump on the outside of the base of your big toe
  • Restricted movement of your big toe
  • Calluses or also known as corns are often developing where the first and second toe are overlapping
  • Thickening of the skin at the base of your big toe

When to see a doctor? In the most cases this condition can be healed at home and you do not have need of doctor. But you should visit your doctor (it is recommended going on an orthopedic or podiatrist foot specialist – which are specialized in treating foot disorders) if you have:

  • Decreased movement of your big toe or foot
  • Persistent big toe or foot pain
  • Difficulty finding shoes that fit properly because of a bunion
  • A visible bump on your big toe joint

When you have decided to visit your doctor, you should make a list of questions which you should ask your doctor such as

  • What is the cause for the bunions?
  • It is my condition temporary or it is permanent?
  • What is the best treatment for my condition?
  • Should I go to surgery?

Also if you have other questions in your mind, then you should not doubt him or her to ask because they will help you to improve your condition.

Your doctor can ask you some of the next questions:

  • When is the first time that you have noticed bunion?
  • Do you have pain on your foot?
  • If you have pain on your foot, then where is the exact place of the pain?
  • Have you used some natural treatments to improve your condition?
  • Have you used some medicines for your bunion?
  • If your answer is yes, then what you have noticed? Do they have improved your condition or they have worsened your condition?
  • What is the most common types of shoes that you are wearing?

bunionComplications of bunions

If you have bunion, then you should visit your doctor because if you are not treating them right, then they can cause you:

  • Metatarsalgia
  • Bursitis
  • Hammertoe

Causes: When you have bunion, then the pressure on your joints is increasing. This is resulting with toe overlapping. When this is happening, then your big toe joint is unstable because there is imbalance in the pressure. In some cases this is resulting with abnormal shape of your foot. Medical experts are recommending to their patients not to use too-narrow, tight and high-heeled shoes which can be a reason for the development of the bunion. But also there are other causes for this situation such as

  • Foot injuries [2]
  • Inherited foot type
  • Deformities present at birth (which are known as congenital deformities) [3]
  • Bunions can be caused from inflammatory types of arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis [4]
  • If you were pointed shoes which are giving extra pressure on your foot, then this also could be a reason for bunions development

Risk factors: There are some factors which are increasing the risk of having bunion such as

  • Heredity: If you have inherited structural foot defect, then you have increased risk getting bunion. [5,6]
  • High heels: When women are wearing high heels, then their toes are in the front of the shoes and in many cases their toes are overlapping. [6]
  • III-fitting shoes: People which are wearing shoes that are too pointed, too tight and too narrow are having increased risk having bunion.
  • Arthritis: When people are suffering from this disease, then they are having changes in their movement which is caused from the pain of this disease. This can lead to increased risk of getting bunion. [4]


[1] Davis J. Do tight shoes increase your risk of developing bunions? Runners Connect. Retrieved from

[2] Teyhen DS, Robertson J. Bunion: Strengthening foot muscles to reduce pain and improve mobility. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy. 2016;46(7):606.

[3] Hannan MT, Menz HB, Jordan JM, et al. Hallux valgus and lesser toe deformities are highly heritable in adult men and women: the Framingham foot study. Arthritis Care Research (Hoboken). 2013;65(9):1515–21.

[4] Cheung C. Arthritis and the bunion: Current concepts. Podiatry Today. 2014;27(12):30-4.

[5] Piqué-Vidal C, Solé MT, Antich J. Hallux valgus inheritance: Pedigree research in 350 patients with bunion deformity. The Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery. 2007;46(3):149-54.

[6] Wiley – Blackwell. Prevalence of bunions increases with age; more common in women. Science Daily. 2011. Retrieved from

Hanan Marshal
Hanan Marshal
Hanan, a medical student (MBBS) having passion for writing and is very much interested in holistic living along with nature. He is very much interested in doing community service and watches anime and play PS4 during his free time. You can reach him through [email protected]


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