What is a bunion?
A bunion is a painful bump that forms on the joint at the base of the big toe. The word bunion comes from the Latin word for “bump.” Bunions occur when the architecture of the foot changes and the space between the first and second metatarsals widens. Overtime, fluid-filled sacs that surround and cushion the joint (called bursa) become inflamed, causing pain around the joint, typically worse with shoe wear. Bunions can be an inherited trait and may also be triggered by poorly fitting shoes. A common misconception about bunions is the belief that the protruding joint is a simple overgrowth of bone that can be surgically cut or shaved off. Bunions are actually a deformity of the joint, causing the bones to misalign, rather than an overgrowth. An unstable joint, typically the first tarsometatarsal joint, in the middle of the foot can allow for rotation of the metatarsal, thus causing a bunion.