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A bunion is a bony swelling at the base joint of the big toe causing the big toe to be angled inwards, towards the second toe. The skin and tissue on the bump of the bunion can become inflamed, swollen, and painful.

Normally, the big toe is naturally in line with one of five metatarsals bones which connect the midfoot with the bones in the toe. However, sometimes a deformity, known as a hallux valgus, can develop. The big toe is angled inwards towards the other toes, causing the joint at the base of the big toe to stick out, affecting the actual shape of the foot. A hallux valgus deformity is the medical name for a bunion.

Other than using corrective surgery, a bunion cannot be cured. However, there are various treatments that can be used to ease pain and discomfort. These include:
•Wearing comfortable, well-fitting shoes. Avoid high-heeled, pointed and tight shoes, and instead wear flat shoes that have enough room for you to move your toes. Bunion pads, available at all pharmacies, may help to prevent further rubbing.
•For severe bunions, specialist (orthopaedic) wide footwear may be necessary and can be made to measure. If your bunion is very painful, you should talk to your GP or podiatrist about this.
•Painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, can ease the pain caused by a bunion. If the bunion develops as a result of arthritis, other medication may be advised. Antibiotics may be needed if the bunion becomes infected.
•Day or night splints may be worn on your feet to slow the development of bunions. They are sometimes recommended for post-operative recovery as you start to use your feet again.
•For bunions that are linked to foot shape or the way that you walk, many podiatrists recommend wearing special devices (orthotics). These are worn inside your shoes to correct the movement of your foot when you walk, and prevent your bunions from getting worse.

Surgery is the only way to completely remove the deformity that causes bunions. The bony growth is removed, and the bones of the big toe realigned.

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