BLOG - WHAT IS A BUNION AND WHERE DO THEY COME FROM? 

Ok so we hear about bunions a lot, most people think only women get them or only old people or we inherit them from our granny.  
 
But what are they, why do we get them and what can we do about them? 
 
This is a picture of my bunion. Yes, even podiatrists get them.  
 
Mine is not big or painful and mainly this is because of how I manage it and I will go into detail on that later. 
 
A bunion is a bony prominence on the side of the foot at the base of the big toe.  
 
There is always a cause for this and if the cause is treated early enough then the bunion can be prevented, or its progress delayed. 
In an ideal foot we have a metatarsal arch, this is an arch starting at the base of the big toe and finishing at the base of the little toe. In an ideal foot this arch and our main foot arch help our foot with shock absorption.  
 
For many reasons in some people this metatarsal arch flattens. This causes the front of the foot to spread out and the tendon that inserts into the top of your big toe knuckle pulls the toe towards the 2nd toe. 
 
Over time this can become more pronounced and the big toe deviates further causing the 2nd toe to sit over or under the big toe or pull up into a hammer toe shape. Sometimes the big toe can even become dislocated from the metatarsal. 
 
Joints are cleverly designed so that one bone sits neatly against another with a nice cushion of cartilage and synovial fluid allowing them to move freely and painlessly. When one or both of the bones in a joint move out of alignment the cushion of cartilage and synovial fluid can start to wear out and the bones can start to develop prominences where bone meets bone.  
 
These bony prominences or lumps and bumps can make buying foot wear difficult and cause the skin to become tight and red over them. They can also cause a restriction in movement in the joint and as the cartilage wears away the joint will become painful to move. Sometimes the joint will eventually fuse and although this is awkward it is painless. 
 
Next time I’ll talk about causes of bunions and then in the 3rd instalment I will talk about management. 
Tagged as: Bunions
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