21 Dec Different Types of Bunions – How to Tell the Difference and Manage Them
Bunions are bony bumps that develop on the feet, specifically the heads of the metatarsal bones, and they can be quite painful and make it difficult for the affected individual to wear shoes without causing some degree of discomfort for themselves.
Some facts about bunions include the following:
- The most common cause of the pathology is due to ill-fitting shoes.
- It affects up to 30 percent of the population.
- It occurs more commonly in females than in males.
Different types of bunions may occur when different areas of the foot are affected. These include:
- Bunions with skin irritation – bunions that develop on the side of the big toe may become red and tender due to the mass rubbing up against the shoe. A complication of this issue includes the development of bursitis, a fluid-filled lesion due to inflammation, over the bunion.
- Large bunions – these bunions involve the big toe and can become so large that affected individuals even struggle to wear open shoes without experiencing some symptoms. The bunions can also become so large that they end up causing a deformity of the phalangeal bones by causing them to move inwards towards the other toes.
- Tailor’s bunion – also known as a bunionette, this bunion forms on the head of the fifth metatarsal (pinkie) bone and usually occurs on the outside of the foot rather than the inside. One of the reasons why this bunion has its name is because tailors would sit with their legs crossed while working and the edges of their feet would end up rubbing against the floor. This constant rubbing would result in the formation of the lesion. However, it has been noted that Tailor’s bunion is an inherited condition.
- Bunion with hallux limitus – hallux limitus is a condition where there is limited mobility of the big toe and this result in jamming of the joint which over time leads to the development of a bunion.
Management of bunions involves certain therapies and may include:
- Modifying shoes, making custom orthotics, or wearing shoes that have a wide toe box are suggested. This also includes avoiding shoes with pointed toes and which have high heels.
- Stiff-soled shoes or building rocker soles are recommended for patients with hallux limitus.
- In the case of Tailor’s bunion, using a toe spacer will help to realign the pinkie toe with the metatarsal bone and will help reduce the symptoms caused by the pathology.
- Using pain medications such as the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents like ibuprofen and naproxen to reduce inflammation and provide pain relief.
- Using ice packs or cold compresses to help reduce the inflammation and thus the pain.
- Applying bunion pads over the masses to help prevent rubbing against shoes and further irritation and inflammation of the overlying skin.
- Injecting steroid medications around the bunions to help reduce the inflammation caused by the lesions.
- If the pain is persistent and the mentioned therapies have been ineffective, or the case is severe, then the surgical intervention of the bunions may be discussed with the patient.