A bony bump at the base of your big toe medically called hallux valgus and commonly known as a bunion, isn’t just a cosmetic concern. A bunion is a deformity of your metatarsophalangeal joint (MTJ). The MTJ connects the metatarsal (first long bone of the foot) and the phalanx (first long bone of the big toe). This condition develops when the metatarsal gets misaligned, inclining toward your inner foot, instead of straight ahead. This process pushes your phalanx toward the toe next to it. Whether your bunion is caused by ill-fitting shoes, underlying foot problems, or genetics, it will eventually worsen. Hence, it’s best to treat your bunion before it becomes a problem.

Keep on reading the five reasons why you shouldn’t delay treating your bunion.

1. Your shoes won’t fit
An untreated bunion will continue to grow, pushing your toes out of alignment. This may lead to the situation where your feet won’t fit your shoes. Not only you won’t be able to wear all the stylish shoes you own, shopping for new ones won’t be as enjoyable as in pre-bunion days. Have you ever seen older people who wear the same old athletic shoes daily? This is most likely due to bunions severely limiting the type of shoes that suit their feet.

2. Walking might become painful
Neglected bunions become bigger, pushing your toes further out of alignment. This causes your toes to rub against each other, leading to corns and calluses between them. Hard and thick calluses are rarely painful, but corns have a soft center and can cause pain when pressed. As your MTJ gets worse with time, your big toe will crowd your other toes. A bunion may also rub against the side of your shoe, getting irritated and sore. While trying to compensate for the misalignment and soreness, your body will change the way you walk, leading to problems with your knees and hips. Wearing wide-toed shoes may help, but if your bunion causes severe pain and gait dysfunction, you might want to consider a bunion removal surgery.

3. You may develop bursitis
Your misaligned MTJ may rub against the tissues in your joints including the fluid-filled sacs called bursae. Bursae function as cushions, reducing tension and negative effects of daily friction and wear-and-tear. Pressured bursae can become inflamed over time. This condition is called bursitis. It limits the movement of your joints and causes pain and discomfort in the affected area. If bursitis doesn’t respond to conservative treatment, you may require surgery.

4. You may get metatarsalgia
Metatarsalgia is a painful overuse disorder that affects the ball of your foot. Metatarsalgia develops slowly and gets worse if untreated. Running, walking, and even standing for long periods worsen the pain. If a podiatry specialist diagnoses metatarsalgia, you may require custom orthotics, or ultrasound and passive range of motion exercises. In severe cases, you may require surgery to realign your metatarsal bones.

5. You may develop arthritis and bone spurs
Osteoarthritis develops when the cartilage between your joints gets worn away, your bones starting to rub against each other. The telltale sign that your bunion causes arthritis is soreness and discomfort in your joint or toe. The pain may spread to other toes or the arch of your foot while you’re walking. Toe arthritis may cause pain even after sitting for long periods or when awakening in the morning. It may also cause difficulty bending your toe. To treat toe arthritis, you may require changing your lifestyle and taking anti-inflammatory medications.

When your bones rub against each other, your body might try repairing the damage by stimulating the bone growth. This may lead to painful bone spurs. Bone spurs may be diagnosed with X-rays and treated with physical therapy, steroid shots, and over-the-counter pain relievers.

Author's Bio: 

I am Amelia Grant, journalist, and blogger. I think that information is a great force that is able to change people’s lives for the better. That is why I feel a strong intention to share useful and important things about health self-care, wellness and other advice that may be helpful for people. Being an enthusiast of a healthy lifestyle that keeps improving my life, I wish the same for everyone.

Our attention to ourselves, to our daily routine and habits, is very important. Things that may seem insignificant, are pieces of a big puzzle called life. I want to encourage people to be more attentive to their well-being, improve every little item of it and become healthier, happier, stronger. All of us deserve that. And I really hope that my work helps to make the world better.