A bunion is a bulge or lump that develops on the inner side of the foot, near the base of the first toe. It is caused by a poor alignment of the metatarsal-phalangeal joint of the big toe or hallux.
A common medical term for this deformity is “hallux valgus”. Essentially, it describes the big toe’s tendency to deviate toward the outside of the foot.
Bunions tend to worsen over time leading to discomfort and skin problems such as corns and lesions, and eventually difficulty in walking.
Bunions are one of the most common problems of the foot. They tend to run in families, suggesting a genetic link associated with the inherited foot shape in certain families. These genetic factors may predispose some people to develop bunions.
One belief is that bunions are caused by pointy shoes, high heels, and shoes that are too small. This theory is supported by the fact that women, whose fashion footwear is generally narrow, pointy-toed and with high heels, tend to get bunions much more often than men do. Research suggests however that factors such as improper footwear don’t cause bunions as much as they exacerbate the underlying causative problem of flat, unstable feet.
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