What is a bunion?
A bunion is a bump that forms on the outside of the big toe. This foot deformity occurs from years of pressure on the big toe joint. Eventually, the toe joint gets out of alignment, and a bony bump forms. The medical term for bunions is hallux abducto valgus.
What are the types of bunions?
Bunions on the big toe are the most common. Other types include:
- Congenital hallux valgus: Some babies are born with bunions.
- Juvenile or adolescent hallux valgus: Tweens and teens between the ages of 10 and 15 may develop bunions.
- Tailor’s bunion: Also called a bunionette, this bunion forms on the outside base of the little (pinky) toe.
What causes bunions?
Pressure from the way you walk (foot mechanics) or the shape of your foot (foot structure) causes your big toe to bend in toward the second toe. Bunions happen gradually over time. Standing for long periods and wearing ill-fitting, narrow shoes can make bunion pain worse, but they don’t cause the problem.
What are the risk factors for bunions?
You may be more likely to get a bunion if you have:
- Family history of bunions due to inherited foot structure problems, like flatfeet.
- Foot injuries.
- Inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
What are the signs of bunions?
A bunion resembles a turnip — red and swollen. In fact, some sources say the word bunion comes from the Greek word for turnip. Other symptoms include:
- Inability to bend the big toe, or pain and burning when you try to bend it.
- Difficulty wearing regular shoes.
- Corns or calluses (thickened skin).
- Numbness in the big toe.