A bunion is a common foot deformity that many Americans have to deal with during their lifetime. Currently, podiatrists are the leading health care professionals for caring for this deformity. Bunions are a very unique foot problem with a specific population and appearance which you will see from the seven facts below. 1) Bunion Definition – A bunion is a bony enlargement of the bone and surrounding soft tissue of the base of the big toe. This makes your foot look like you have a bump on the inside of the base of your big toe and also causes the tip of your big toe to angle toward the second toe.
2) Who gets Bunions – Bunions are more common in women. Bunions are also more common in western countries, with as much as 30% of the population of people of western countries having bunions. Interestingly, studies have shown that people from countries where shoes are not commonly worn by most citizens have a lower incidence of bunions then western countries, suggesting that bunions may be due to the shoes people wear. Bunions are also more common in older people, with a greater incidence of bunions with age.
3) Bunion Genetics – Many studies have shown that there seems to be a genetic link for acquiring bunions. This means that if someone in your immediate family has a bunion you have an increased chance of getting a bunion then the general population.
4) Bunion Symptoms – There are many symptoms that may lead people to think they have a bunion but the most common symptoms are as follows: A bony protuberance on the base of the big toe, red callused skin over the protuberance on the inside of the big toe, pain over the joint with the protuberance that worsens with pressure, and the tip of the big toe pointing toward the second toe.
5) Shoes leading to Bunions – It has been shown that narrow shoes, cowboy boats or high heel shoes can lead to bunions. This may explain why bunions are more common in women and also why they are more common in western countries where high heel shoes are more commonly worn.
6) Diagnosing a Bunion – If you think that you have a bunion and present with the symptoms above that indicate a bunion then go to a local podiatrist to have a bunion diagnosed for sure. A podiatrist will have a good idea if you have a bunion just by sight but they will also x-ray the area to confirm the presence of a bunion.
7) Bunion Surgery – If a bunion is so painful or so enlarged that it interferes with your quality of life then a treatment option is to get a bunionectomy. A bunionectomy is a surgical procedure commonly performed by a podiatrist that helps to straighten out the big toe. As with all problems, the sooner you catch it the easier it is to treat. Don’t simply assume that surgery is required for a bunion. Bunions in very early stages can be controlled with non-surgical means that may even prevent the need for surgery in the future! The best thing you can do is visit with your podiatrist to see what the best options are.