Bursitis: symptoms, causes, diagnosis and treatment.


The bunion, also known as hallux valgus, is a bony bump that usually protrudes from the side of the big toe. Less commonly, a bone can form next to a little toe, and this is called a "bone" or " tailor 's bone." Several factors, some of which can be controlled and some of which cannot, make a person more vulnerable to bone marrow development.

A bunion can usually be diagnosed by a healthcare professional. just looking at your leg. In most cases, bursitis is managed conservatively using self-help strategies, but surgery may be indicated in some cases.

Illustration by Alexandra Gordon, Get Meds Info


If symptoms of bursitis do occur, they usually develop over time, much later than the formation of the lump. Symptoms may include one or more of the following:

  • Pain and / or burning from bursitis
  • Redness, stiffness, and swelling around the big toe joint.
  • Hammers or calluses under the sole of the foot
  • Corns or other skin irritations where the first and second toes overlap


Although the exact cause of bursitis has not been fully clarified, experts believe that certain types of feet make a person more prone to developing bursitis, and these types of feet tend to run in families .

In particular, experts suspect that the combination of a certain type of foot and years of abnormal pressure on the big toe joint (called the first metatarsophalangeal joint ) usually results in bursitis. In particular, wearing tight shoes with your toes together is a common culprit. This is part of the reason why women get bursitis more often than men; many women's shoes have narrow drawers for socks. High heels can make the situation worse if the toes go further into the tapered toe .

In addition to narrow shoes and an inherited foot type, other factors that can contribute to bunion formation include:

Illustration by Brianna Gilmartin, Get Drug Information


The diagnosis of bursitis can only be made by physical examination, as this bone deformity is visible to the naked eye. However, to have full access to your big toe and big toe joint, your healthcare provider may order an X- ray .

Watch out

Treatment for bursitis is only necessary if it is causing symptoms. Although there are many nonsurgical treatment options, if the symptoms of bursitis are severe or persistent, surgery to correct the displacement may be considered.

Self-service strategies

These self-help strategies can give you some relief from acute bunion pain:

  • Take off your shoes and put your feet up to relieve pressure and swelling.
  • Apply an ice pack if pain and swelling are severe (try to have several 10-15 minute sessions a day). Be sure to move the ice pack and place a thin towel between the ice pack and your skin.
  • Soak your feet in cold (not ice) water to reduce swelling. Use a warm foot bath or steam-moistened towel if your big toe joints are stiff.
  • To maintain flexibility and avoid stiffness, stretch your feet with a simple series of routine exercises .


To ease the pain of bursitis, your healthcare provider may recommend taking an over-the-counter anti- inflammatory medication such as Advil (ibuprofen) .

Less commonly, a doctor may inject a steroid ( cortisone ) into a pouch (the sac that surrounds the big toe joint) to relieve inflammation.


If you have bone marrow pain, you can ease some of the pain by filling in the bone on the outside or by forcing your toes into a more natural position .

Bunion pads are available at most drugstores and are made from moleskin, neoprene, foam, silicone, or gel plastic. They relieve pressure on the bunion when wearing shoes and generally work best when wearing wide-toed shoes. While most bursitis pads are attached with removable tape, others are woven into the fabric of removable booties.

The finger pads , as the name suggests, fit between the fingers. Most are made of shaped foam or plastic. While some only open the space between the big toes, the newer glove-shaped models are made of neoprene and spread the five toes apart.

Among the many devices for relieving bursitis , there are night splints that can gradually adjust the alignment of the fingers, and even inserts that combine a bursitis pad with individual finger spacers.

The right shoes

Even if your shoes have low heels and square feet, they may not be the correct size. Many foot problems arise simply because fashion is preferred to comfort and support .

While you may feel like you know your correct size, manufacturer sizes can vary greatly, causing you to swim in some boots and have a hard time donning others. Also, your shoe size can change with age, as vertical pressure on your feet can flatten and expand bones and cartilage over time.

To prevent or correct a foot problem, measure your foot correctly every five years or so.

A running shoe store is a great place to measure your feet, as these retailers will likely do a full foot evaluation . This includes not only determining your foot size, but also evaluating your foot position and arch .

An evaluation can give you an idea of what type of shoe is best for you, even if you need custom orthotics or arch supports. The better your shoes, the less likely your toes are to slide forward and clench.

If you are looking for the right footwear to treat thumb bone pain, always look for the following features:

  • Large enough toe box to move and spread your toes.
  • Heel no more than one to two inches
  • A flexible shoe material, such as canvas or soft leather.
  • Enough interior space to place bursitis pads or templates
  • Moderately flexible sole (as opposed to a hard or flimsy sole)


Some orthopedists refer their patients to a physical therapist who specializes in treating foot problems. To relieve inflammation and bone pain, your physical therapist may use ultrasound therapy .


If you have severe or persistent pain in your thumb bone and / or it affects your overall daily function / quality of life, it is wise to discuss the surgery with your healthcare provider. The goals of bunion bursitis surgery are to relieve the pain and deformity of the bursitis.

Depending on several factors, such as your age, activity level, and the severity of your bursitis, your surgeon will choose from a variety of surgical procedures, including osteotomy (bone alignment), arthrodesis (joint fusion), resection arthroplasty (removal of an injured joint). or exostectomy (removal of just the tubercle of the thumb). Exostectomy is rarely performed alone; Since the bunion is not aligned, the bone often reappears.

If you are unsure whether surgery is right for you, consider asking your foot and ankle surgeon the following questions:

  • What are the risks and benefits of the treatment?
  • What results can I expect?
  • What does recovery entail?
  • How to deal with postoperative pain?

These answers, as well as the cost of the recommended procedure, can help you make an informed decision.

Get Meds Info Word

Bunions, while common, can be an uncomfortable foot condition. However, with the proper self-care strategies and a little diligence on your part, most people can manage their bones well.

However, if you don't get relief with simple measures, or if your bursitis is affecting your mobility or the quality of your daily life, be sure to talk to your doctor about the next steps. Surgery may be a smart option for you at this stage.

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