Got a Lump on Your Toe?

Here's why bunions and tight-fitting shoes hurt your feet.

A bunion is a bony lump on the joint of the big toe. It is a structural anomaly and its presence gives the appearance that the big toe is awkwardly pointing toward the second toe.

The growth usually forms as a result of the misalignment of the bones of the forefoot or when the big toe is forced to slant in an unnatural position. This affects how the foot spreads its load-bearing ability between the base of the foot and the toes. This can impact an individual's balance and stability.

Bunions are painful because they cause irritation to the soft tissues surrounding this part of the foot, causing further swelling and pain.

There are a number of reasons why bunions appear, but a common cause – especially among women who have this condition – is wearing shoes that fit too tightly. Wearing narrow-toed, high-heeled shoes causes the toes to bunch tightly together. The condition may become painful as extra bone and a fluid-filled sac grow at the base of the big toe.

The best treatment for bunions probably is to rest the foot and avoid excessive walking. A loose, wider shoe or sandals where the toes are less tightly bunched together would alleviate the pain and relieve the disorder. Regular use of footwear where the toes are not bound together tightly will give long-term relief.

This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.

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