Bunions Symptoms, Causes, Treatment - What are the causes of bunions? - MedicineNet

Bunions Symptoms, Causes, Treatment - What are the causes of bunions? - MedicineNet
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Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
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Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
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In this ArticleBunions factsWhat are bunions?What are the causes of bunions?Who develops bunions?What are symptoms and signs of a bunion?How is a bunion diagnosed?How are bunions treated? Are there home remedies to treat bunions?Can bunions be prevented?What is the prognosis of a bunion?Patient Comments: Bunions - Describe Your ExperiencePatient Comments: Bunions - TreatmentsPatient Comments: Bunions - SymptomsFind a local Orthopedic Surgeon in your townBunions Index

What are the causes of bunions?
While the precise cause is not known, there seem to be inherited (genetic) factors that lead to abnormal foot function like overpronation that can predispose to the development of bunions. This is especially common when bunions occur in younger individuals. This abnormal biomechanics can lead to instability of the metatarsal phalangeal joint and muscle imbalance resulting in the deformity.

Although shoe gear doesn't directly cause a bunion, it can certainly make the bunion painful and swollen. Other less common causes of bunion deformities include trauma (sprains, fractures, and nerve injuries), neuromuscular disorders (polio or Charcot-Marie-Toothdisease) and limb-length discrepancies (one leg shorter than the other) where the longer leg develops the bunion.

Who develops bunions?
Bunions most commonly affect women. Some studies report that bunion symptoms occur nearly 10 times more frequently in women. It has been suggested that tight-fitting shoes, especially high-heel and narrow-toed shoes, might increase the risk for bunion formation. Tight footwear certainly is a factor in precipitating the pain and swelling of bunions. Complaints of bunions are reported to be more prevalent in people who wear shoes than in barefoot people.

Picture of a bunion.Picture of a bunion. SOURCE: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health
Other risk factors for the development of bunions include abnormal formation of the bones of the foot at birth (congenital) and arthritic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. In some cases, repetitive stresses to the foot can lead to bunion formation. Bunions are common in ballet dancers.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/27/2013

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