A long time ago a colleague of mine wrote about this, and I thought it might if nothing else bring a smile to your face today.
So, of course the first thing to note is that bunions and onions have only one thing in common, they rhyme! Beyond that though, patient’s first question about a bunion is, “what is that lump growing on the side of my foot?” While there is often an enlargement of bone or bump associated with the formation of a bunion, the real cause of the problem has to do with the change in alignment of the bones in your great toe joint.
Most people notice that with the foot with the bunion, the big toe is moving over toward the second toe. What you can see on an X-ray, is that the bone behind it, the first metatarsal is moving the other way, away from the second metatarsal. In the hand it is fine for the thumb to move all the way over to touch your little finger, but if this happens in the foot, the size of the bump or bunion will become larger and larger. The point is that unlike that onion, the bunion isn’t growing, but what you see continues to increase in size and will likely become increasingly painful.
To answer the question as to whether to do anything about a bunion, you really need to assess whether either the bunion itself is becoming gradually more painful, whether it’s making it difficult to wear your shoes, or whether you are developing pain under the ball of the foot. If any of the above are true, then you should at least consult with a foot specialist , have Xrays taken, and find out just how far the problem has progressed. A podiatrist can tell you what your best options are, and exactly what is involved in correcting your bunion.