Bunion Causes and Symptoms

The Downtown Austin Alliance works with local residents, business and property owners, government officials, and community organizations to advance and promote the future of downtown Austin. This organization keeps a firm pulse and assists in “building a foundation for tomorrow” in our community.

Bad footwear and bunionsWhether we are talking about the actual buildings that make up downtown or the community itself, a strong foundation is essential. The same holds true for your body. As we look at bunion causes and how the condition can worsen, you will see how a stable foundation is also important for you.

Whereas there is still a popular misbelief that bunions are caused by women’s footwear, this is not actually the case. Bunions are the result of instability in the joint at the base of the big toe – the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint.

When the big toe’s MTP joint lacks stability—which can be caused by an inherited foot structure or sometimes a severe injury—the toe can begin to drift inwards. At the same time, the first metatarsal bone starts angling outward. Combined, these two actions force the MTP joint to jut out on the inside edge of the foot.

Now, footwear might not initially cause the condition, but it can certainly exacerbate it. Wearing high-heeled shoes like stilettos or pumps places excessive force on the front of the foot. Along with the extra pressure, these kinds of shoes also often feature narrow, pointed fronts, which can lead to further dislocation of the big toe.

To prevent the condition from worsening, you need to be able to recognize its symptoms. The main one is simply the bunion itself. You will be able to see the protruding bump on the inner edge of the foot. In most cases, it will be reddened, swollen, and the tissues have become hardened. This abnormality can lead to increased risk of corns and calluses.

Bunions are progressive, which means they worsen when left untreated, so it is important to come see us as soon as you become aware of one’s development. We can create a conservative treatment plan to address symptoms and slow the condition’s progression, or perform bunion surgery to correct it. Of course, your first step in bunion care is to come see us here at Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists. Contact our Austin, TX office by calling (512) 328-8900, or request your appointment with our online form today!
Dr. Craig H. Thomajan, DPM, FACFAS, FAENS
Founder and Managing Partner of Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists
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