bunion, swelling or thickening around the first joint of the big toe. The toe is forced inward and compresses the other toes. The fluid-filled sac, or bursa, in the toe joint becomes inflamed (a condition called bursitis), which may lead to pain, deformity, and an inability to wear ordinary shoes. Bunions may arise from years of wearing ill-fitting shoes. However, congenital bone deformities are usually indicated when they occur on both feet. Proper foot care, especially in selecting shoes, is the most important aspect of treatment and prevention. The toes can often be straightened by pads or splints, and orthopedic shoes are generally prescribed. Serious cases may require surgery.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.