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Overview of Bunions

Clip Number: 29 of 37
Presentation: Bone and Joint Conditions, Tests, and Procedures
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Reviewed By: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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A bunion is one of the most common problems of the big toe. Usually women have more trouble with bunions than men do. Bunions change the shape of the foot and can cause pain. As a bunion gets worse, it can also cause many other foot problems, such as hammertoes and painful calluses on the bottom of the foot. Because the big toe is so critical to movement, any problem with it can make walking, or even standing, painful.
Bunions begin when the big toe starts to point toward the smaller toes. As you can see, a bunion is not a bump that grows at the end of the bone, but it is formed because the bones are actually crooked.
There are many reasons why this might happen. For example, you might wear shoes with a narrow toe box that bends the big toe in this direction, or you may have flat feet, arthritis, previous foot injuries, or weak ligaments.
Several treatments exist for bunion problems. The doctor will usually start with the most conservative.
Conservative treatments can include:
Shoe changes
Orthotics or arch supports
If the symptoms do not go away trying these, bunion surgery is often recommended. There are different ways to do bunion surgery. The kind of bunion surgery recommended will depend on what kind of foot problems you are having. In most cases, the bunion is taken off and then the foot and toes are put back in the normal placement.

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