A bunion is a lump of bone and tissue on the outside of the joint of the big toe. It results from a...
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A bunion is a lump of bone and tissue on the outside of the joint of the big toe. It results from abnormal stress on the joint over an extended period of time. The stress causes enlargement of the first metatarsal, the bone that joins the big toe. This is a complex joint, where bones, tendons, and ligaments work together to transmit and distribute your weight during movement. Wearing tight, high heeled shoes pushes your body's weight onto the front of the foot. Crowding pressure forces the big toe toward the smaller toes and the joint of the big toe outwards. This outward movement of the joint starts the formation of a bunion. With continued stress on the joint, the bunion becomes larger. The skin and tissue around the bunion may become swollen and inflamed, causing pain and making it difficult to walk. Conservative treatment for a bunion includes wearing roomy, wider toed shoes and medication to relieve pain and inflammation. In severe cases, surgery may be performed to relieve pain, remove the enlargement, and realign the joint. Depending on the severity, the surgery may simply involve removing the extra bone and realigning the muscles, tendons, and ligaments of the joint. In more severe cases, the bone may need to be cut and moved into its proper position, with insertion of screws, wires, or plates to hold it together while it heels. Tendons and ligaments may also need to be repositioned. In some cases, an implant may be required to reconstruct or replace the joint of the big toe.