Bunions are called hallux abductovalgus when the joint of the big toe(hallux) is involved,and are called tailor's bunions or bunionettes when they occur on the little toe side of the foot. A bunion is when your big toe points toward the second toe. This causes a bump on the edge of your foot, at the joint of your big toe.

Bunions are often caused by narrow-toed, high-heeled shoes. These compress the big toe and push it toward the second toe. The condition may become painful as extra bone and a fluid-filled sac grow at the base of the big toe. This leads to swelling and pain. Bunions occur more frequently in women and sometimes run in families.

* Red, calloused skin along the foot at the base of the big toe
* A bony bump at this site
* Pain over the joint, aggravated by pressure from shoes
* Big toe turned toward the other toes

Signs and Tests
A doctor can usually diagnose a bunion by looking at it. A foot x-ray can show an abnormal angle between the big toe and the foot and, in some cases, arthritis.

Most doctors who take care of feet will not just do surgery. Remember, the bunion is there because of walking inefficiency. The majority of doctors will want to try orthotics with patients who have bunions that are not painful. Plus, if the orthotics do not take care of all the pain, they can make it bearable. Or, if you have to have surgery, then you are not going to be back with a recurrence of the bunion, because wearing the orthotics reduces the forces that cause the bunion in the first place.

Avoid compressing the toes of your foot with narrow, poor-fitting shoes and wear custom orthotics to improve gait.

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