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Basics on Bunions

Basics on Bunions

Advisory by Marcus Heng, Guardian Pharmacist

What are bunions?
Bunions are bony protrusions at the base of the big toe due to a deformity in the toe joint. The exact cause is unknown but it has been linked to arthritis, genetics and poor footwear, especially high heels.

What are the symptoms?
Bunions may get inflamed and swollen, making walking a very painful experience. The affected toe usually bends inward and movement of the toe may be restricted too. Occasionally, calluses form over the bunion due to frequent rubbing with the footwear.

How can we treat bunions?
Unfortunately, bunion deformities are permanent. However, symptoms may be relieved by having padded footwear, inserts or splinting the affected toe. Using ice packs on the bunion during a flare-up helps reduce inflammation and if necessary, anti-inflammatory pharmacy-only painkillers like ibuprofen may be taken to relieve the symptom as well.

Surgery is usually reserved for severe cases, but can be done to realign the toe or fuse the joint permanently to prevent further deformity.

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