A bunion is a common, progressive problem of the big toe joint. Bunions occur when misaligned big toe joints become swollen and tender. This causes the first joint of the big toe to slant outward and the second joint to angle toward the other toes. The joint becomes deformed, weak, and enlarged. Shoes can discomfort the side joint and the middle of the joint becomes stiff and sore with arthritis.
Wearing shoes that are too tight is the leading cause of bunions. Bunions are not hereditary, but foot injuries, neuromuscular problems, flat feet and pronated feet can contribute to their formation. Bunions can also lead to other toe deformities such as hammertoe.
Because they are bone deformities, bunions do not resolve themselves. If not treated right away or properly, the deformity process can progress from Stage 1 to Stage 5. Care for eliminating the pain can change from non-surgical treatments to the point of foot surgery or modification being the only option for a cure.