The visible bump on the side of the foot, actually represents a deformation of the bony structure inside the foot. The term bunion usually indicates the big toe leans toward the second toe, and the first metatarsal bone (the bone right behind it) leans out. This causes the bump and the widening of the foot. Bunions are hereditary, and exacerbated by shoes. Severity of the bunion deformity is not based on the appearance, but based on the symptoms. Some will have a severe appearance to their bunion, and not have any pain. Others may have a mild appearing bunion, and have much difficulty with walking, standing, and all their shoes. Wider shoes and extra support for better joint function seem to help most, but some do not respond to this conservative treatment.
Surgical correction for bunions has come a long way and is quite successful. Today, bunion deformities can be corrected with outpatient surgery. Most bunions can be realigned with an osteotomy (bone cut) and absorbable pin fixation (the pin dissolves over time). Recovery could be as quick as six weeks without the need for crutches from day one. Consider having your bunion deformity evaluated by a Board Certified Podiatric Surgeon in your area.