Is it a bunion?
On a foot with no bunion, the big toe points straight ahead. You should be able to draw a straight line from your heel to your big toe, as in the picture at left. The inside of the foot is relatively smooth and straight.
If you see a bump – an outgrowth – on the side of your foot just below the joint of the big toe, it may be a bunion. It’s usually pretty small when you discover it, but eventually this bump will enlarge, forcing the big toe towards the smaller toes. As the bump enlarges, you’ll experience pain in that area and the skin over the bump will become swollen or irritated from the pressure of your shoes. You may even see marks or slight bulges on the side of your shoes as the bunion wears through.
Aside from aesthetic issues, this joint below your big toe is one of the most important parts of your foot, as it bears the majority of your body weight. When it’s painful and not functioning correctly, you tend to shift your body weight onto the other metatarsals of that foot, introducing a host of other problems. That’s why bunions are frequently accompanied by crossover toes, hammer toes, corns, calluses, and ingrown toenails. Additionally, as pain in the bunion increases, activity is reduced and a sedentary lifestyle sets in, leading to a lower quality of life.
Bunion symptoms may include
A bump at the base of your big toe
Swelling, soreness, and/or redness around the skin of the joint
Pain around the area of the joint
Difficulty moving your big toe
Corns or calluses where the 1st and 2nd toes overlap
Pain when walking, created by your shoe rubbing on the protruding area
Big toe pointing towards adjacent toes
Next: Bunion Treatment Options