What is a bunion?
A bunion is a bony lump at the base of your big toe. As it grows, it sticks out from the side of your foot and may move your toe out of place.
What causes a bunion?
Shoes that are too tight or too small are the most common cause of bunions. Arthritis can also cause bunions. Repeated stress on the toes or upper foot from sports or other activities can also cause bunions.
What are the signs and symptoms of a bunion?
- You may have foot pain and stiffness.
- Your big toe is turned inward and may overlap other toes.
- You may have a callus (thickened skin) at the base of the big toe. The callus may have fluid under it.
How is a bunion diagnosed?
Your caregiver can identify your bunion by looking at your foot. He may ask you to move your toe to see how well you can move it. You may need an x-ray to measure the bunion and see how your other toes are affected.
How is a bunion treated?
- NSAIDs: These help decrease swelling and pain. Ask your caregiver which medicine is right for you and how much to take. Take as directed. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems if not taken correctly.
- Bunionectomy: If other treatments do not work, you may need surgery to remove the bunion.
How can I manage my symptoms?
- Ice your toe: Ice helps decrease swelling and pain. Use an ice pack or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover the ice pack with a towel and place it on your toe for 15 to 20 minutes every hour. Use the ice for as long as directed.
- Separate your big toe at night: Separate the big toe from the others with a foam-rubber pad while you sleep. Use a light elastic bandage to keep the pad in place.
- Use a bunion pad: Wear a thick, ring-shaped pad around and over the bunion to cushion it.
- Wear shoes that fit: Wear wide shoes that have plenty of room for your toes. Do not wear shoes with heels that are higher than 2 inches.
- Wear shoe inserts or arch supports in your shoes: These will decrease pressure on the bunion.
- Stretch your foot each day: This will help decrease pressure and increase foot strength. Ask what foot exercises are best for you.
When should I contact my caregiver?
Contact your caregiver if:
- You cannot do your daily activities because of the pain.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
When should I seek immediate care?
Seek care immediately or call 911 if:
- You have severe pain in your toe.
- You cannot put weight on your foot.
You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.
© 2013 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of the Blausen Databases or Truven Health Analytics.
The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
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