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What is a bunion?
A bunion is commonly referred to as a “bump” on the joint at the base of the big toe—the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint—that forms when the bone or tissue at the big toe joint moves out of place. The toe is forced to bend toward the others, causing an often painful lump of bone on the foot. Because this joint carries a lot of the body's weight while walking, bunions can cause extreme pain if left untreated. The MTP joint itself may become stiff and sore, making even the wearing of shoes difficult or impossible.
What are the causes?
Bunions form when the normal balance of forces that is exerted on the joints and tendons of the foot becomes disrupted. This disruption can lead to instability in the joint and cause the deformity. Bunions are brought about by years of abnormal motion and pressure over the MTP joint.
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What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of a bunion include development of a swelling, callus or firm bump. redness, swelling. Pain at or near the MTP joint, or corns or other irritations caused by the overlap of the first and second toes.
When should you visit a podiatrist?
If pain persists, podiatric medical attention should be sought. Bunions tend to get larger and more painful if left untreated, making non-surgical treatment less of an option.