A bunion is a deformity of the big toe joint that results from bone misalignment or repositioning at the joint. Although bunions occur most frequently at the base of the big toe, they can also arise on the outside of the foot at the base of the small toe.
Bunion formation occurs slowly over time, which is why proper foot care from childhood forward is important for bunion prevention. Strengthening your feet with the foot and toe stretching exercises we recommend under “Foot and Ankle Care and checking your feet for slight changes in shape can help maintain overall foot health. To prevention bunions, be sure your footwear fits right and does not put pressure on the forefoot and toes. Custom orthotics can help alleviate pressure on certain areas of the foot.
If you suspect you have a bunion developing, consult a podiatrist for a correct diagnosis and early treatment to slow or stop its formation. Untreated bunions can also lead to other toe deformities, such as hammertoe. Arthritis and bursitis may also develop in the joint area.