The most prominent symptom of a bunion is a bony knob at the base of the big toe, with the toe pointing inward. Other symptoms include:
- Swelling and redness around the big toe joint
- Persistent or intermittent pain and tenderness
- A burning nerve-like sensation on the bump
- The development of corns or calluses on the bump
- Stiffness and restrictive movement of the big toe which may make walking difficult
Bunions can affect anyone, but they are 10 times more common in women than in men. Women tend to wear tight and narrow shoes, such as high heels. When walking in high heels, the body’s weight is shifted forward, putting pressure on the big toe.
Athletes, such as soccer players, runners, and particularly ballet dancers, whose feet endure repeated stress are at an increased risk of developing bunions. Athletes who over-pronate are especially prone to bunions because they put too much stress on the joints during the push-off phase of running.
A doctor can identify a bunion by physically examining your foot. Though your doctor can diagnose your bunion based on the physical appearance of your toe and symptoms, he or she will order an x-ray to find the cause and severity. The x-ray will show how far out of alignment the bones have become.