7 Symptoms of Bunions

Bunions are bony protrusions that stick out from the side of your foot. They form at the base of your big toe when the bones shift out of alignment. When a bunion develops, your big toe will start to point toward your other toes instead of pointing forward, and the end of the bone will stick out. This creates a large, hard lump on your foot. Sometimes, a smaller bunion forms at the base of the pinky toe. This is known as a tailor’s bunion or a bunionette, but it’s not usually as painful or serious as a bunion that forms on your big toe.

Because you put so much pressure on your feet whenever you stand up or walk, bunions can become very painful and uncomfortable. Unfortunately, they won’t go away on their own. You can minimize the discomfort with some lifestyle changes, but the bunion will probably keep growing. If it starts to interfere with your daily life, your doctor may recommend a surgery to fix the misaligned bones. The surgery, known as a bunionectomy, removes the protruding part of the bone and realigns the joint. Bunions are sometimes mistaken for other foot deformities, so knowing the signs and symptoms of the condition can help you identify it and properly treat it. Here are seven signs of bunions:

1. Bone Deformity

Bunions are bone deformities in the big toe, so a noticeable deformity is the main sign of the condition. As a bunion develops, the big toe starts to lean toward the second toe instead of pointing straight ahead. This happens because the angle between the first and second long bones in the toe increases, which pushes the toe inward. Over time, the bones in the toe will become misaligned, and the bones on the side of the toe will start to protrude outward. This causes the characteristic bump on the side of the foot. In the early stages, the bone deformity might not be noticeable. If it worsens, though, the bump will become visible.

Experts aren’t sure exactly why some people develop this condition, but it is probably linked to genetics. Some people are born with a foot structure that’s naturally vulnerable to developing bunions. They aren’t born with the bone deformity, but they’re at a greater risk of developing it. Wearing shoes that are tight around the toes won’t cause bunions to form, but it can make existing bunions worse. Without surgical treatment, the bone deformity that causes a bunion is permanent, and it can lead to a variety of other uncomfortable symptoms.