Bunion separator

Bunion Symptoms

You have no doubt heard the phrase “Oh, my aching feet!”  You may have even said it  yourself.  Well, your feet hurt for a reason.  Sure, they could be tired, but there may also be a more serious reason for foot pain that you will want to discuss with your doctors.  Foot pain is actually one of the many bunion symptoms people experience.

Other bunion symptoms can include irritated skin and swelling.  However, the most visible symptom of a bunion is the protrusion of a bony area at the joint between the big toe and the foot.  The big toe many times will be pointed inward and as a result some of the other toes may begin to turn under or form hammer toes. Bunions generally develop over time.  They can also develop on the smallest toe which is sometimes called a tailor’s bunion or a bunionette.

Diagnosing Bunions

You and your doctor can many times determine if you have a bunion simply by looking at your feet.  However, your doctor may want to get a complete history of when the problem began, when you experience pain, how you would rate the severity of the pain and take a look at how much motion you have in your big toe.  Occasionally, your doctor will get a better look at the big toe through an x-ray to check the alignment of the big toe and rule out other possibilities.  Many times arthritis can cause the same malformation of the big toe as a bunion.

In addition to hammer toes, bunions can also cause other problems with your feet such as ingrown toe nails and calluses.  Calluses commonly form on the bunion because the protrusion is constantly rubbing against the inside of the shoe.  That constant rubbing causes friction that leads to the thickening, hardening and build up of dead skin along the big toe.  Calluses can be another source of pain for people with bunions.

Causes of Bunions

Many people associate the formation of bunions with the wearing of shoes that are too tight or ill-fitting.  Many high heel shoe designs force the toes into a pointed end of the shoe placing a great amount of pressure on the toes because of the elevated heel.  While shoes are certainly one cause for bunions or at least one of the contributing causes, there can also be genetic causes for bunions as well.  Some people are born with big toes that are misaligned.  Also, many times people low arches or flat feet are more prone to bunions.  Flat feet can also be caused by weight gain, long spans of walking, standing or running and shoes that do not fit properly.  All of these problems can lead to or contribute to the formation of bunions.

Meanwhile, if you are a woman you are more likely to have bunions than men.  That could partially be because of the shoe-wearing habits of women.  Other things that make you more prone to developing bunions include parents or other family members who developed bunions, rolling your foot to the inside when you walk, gout that affects the big toe joint as well as rheumatoid arthritis that affects the big toe joint.

Bunion Treatment

There are a wide range of treatments you can utilize for your bunion symptoms.  They can be as simple as buying bunion separators that are comfortable and don’t create pressure on your toes, to using an over the counter pain reliever.