A bunion is a deformity of the joint that connects your big toe to your foot. It’s characterized by a lump on the side of your big toe joint, which causes it to turn inward toward the second toe. The resulting rub between the big toe and second toe often leads to corns, calluses or blisters on the bottom of the foot. In severe cases, bunions can make walking difficult or even painful. Even in milder cases, however, they can cause discomfort when wearing shoes that fit tightly around the foot.

Bunions usually develop slowly over time as your big toe starts to slant toward the second toe, causing deformity and pain. Women are more likely than men to develop bunions due to wearing constricting footwear (i.e., high heels). Women who wear tight shoes for long periods of time are especially vulnerable because of how this type of footwear puts pressure on the front of your feet.

Other risk factors include: Arthritis or other conditions that affect your joints and bones, Family history of bunions (a genetic predisposition), or certain other diseases.

Most people with bunions have pain and inflammation near the large joint at the base of their big toes. Other symptoms include: Redness or swelling around the big toe joint.