What is a Bunion and what causes it? Everything you need to know.
Bunions are bony bumps on the side of your foot, just at the joint where your big toe is attached to your foot. Bunions slowly develop over time and cause the big toe to turn inwards, towards the other toes.
Women suffer from bunions about 10 times more often than men. One factor that seems to promote the development of bunions is the long term choice of footwear – high heels and pointy toes, which squeeze your toes together are probably one of the reasons why women are more often affected by bunions than men. Certain professions which involve a lot of standing or foot work (such as nurses, flight attendants and ballet dancers) also are more prone to develop bunions due to the continued stress on their feet. In teenagers, bunions most often affect girls between 10 and 15. Adolescent bunions, as opposed to adult bunions, however are most often associated to a genetic disposition. Despite the prevalence of females suffering from bunions, men and boys can also develop bunions.
What causes bunions?
The causes for bunions are not yet quite clear, but there seem to be three different routes of developing bunions.
Either a genetic disposition to develop bunions runs in your family,
You have an underlying inflammatory condition such as rheumatoid arthritis or slight deformities of your foot, which make your joint swell which pushes the big toe towards the others from the inside,
Or the toe is pushed from the outside, by, for example, shoes that are too narrow at the tip, which causes the joint to compress.
The last point is rarely the only cause for a bunion, but is frequently the cause of the development of bunions on feet, susceptible to bunion development due to one of the other two conditions being present.
When should I seek medical advice?
You should consult a doctor before immediately, if you have diabetes since the cause of the bunion might be related to a diabetic foot problem.
If the pain is persistent or so strong that it affects your daily activities, you should seek medical advice. You should also consult a doctor or health care practicioner, if the condition doesn’t improve after a couple of weeks of home treatment or if the condition worsens[i].