Plenty of people have heard the word “bunion” before, but they may not be clear on what it means. It’s one of those foot diseases, or maybe a skin issue on the foot. Or they never think about it and simply move on. This is unfortunate because they may have a bunion and not even know it.
It’s not uncommon, either. There are so many different things that can contribute to foot pain that people might dismiss bunion pain up until it’s really severe and they begin to scour websites all over the internet finding a form of treatment. By then, the problem has gotten so bad that it requires costly surgery to fix. So it can help to know what a bunion actually is so you can see if you need to deal with them.
What Are Bunions?
In simple terms, a bunion is when the big toe moves and points towards the second toe. It’s a deformation of the bones that make up the big toe, forcing it to grow in a direction it wasn’t designed to grow.
It was believed that bunions were caused by tight shoes, though that appears to be correlation and not causation. Doctors have found that there’s some evidence for a genetic predisposition to bunions, and they can generally form without tight shoes. However, it is true that one’s shoes being too tight can be a factor in how bunions form.
Bunions form over time, with continued pressure on the toe joints. Anything that causes a person to shift the weight of their foot oddly can form bunions. But the fact that they take the time to develop means you can catch them early if you know the warning signs.
Bunions can cause pain in the feet, which does get worse with tight shoes. They can also cause difficulty walking, and a constant burning sensation. And of course, the physical deformity that causes the toe bone to tilt towards the smaller toes. If not treated, bunions can grow so bad that they can push the other toes out of alignment.
Do I Need To Have My Bunions Removed?
If you’re experiencing feet problems and feel bunions are to blame, there are a few treatments that can be used. There is bunion surgery, where the surgeon cuts open the foot and adjust the bone to its proper shape. However, surgery is considered the last resort.
The early treatments involve obvious things such as wearing wider shoes and soaking your feet. Using toe spacers or bunion pads can also be a big help. These treatments won’t fix the physical deformity, but they’ll help you live without pain and keep your bunions from getting worse.
So do you absolutely have to remove bunions? No, if your big toe is out of alignment but it’s not causing you any pain, there’s no need to remove a bunion. However, if your foot hurts no matter what you do, you have difficulty walking, and soaking your feet in warm water doesn’t stop the pain then you may need surgery. The decision is up to you and your doctor.