The bony bump on the side of your big toe is a form of arthritis. It indicates that degenerative changes are taking place in the joint beneath. The bunion can cause your first toe to push outward against your second toe, deforming it as well.
While poorly fitting shoes with a narrow toe box can aggravate bunions, the primary cause is hereditary. Mother Teresa had bad bunion deformities and never wore high heels or fashionable shoes.
Conservative treatments such as orthotics (shoe inserts) and injections at the base of the big toe can sometimes relieve bunion problems, but surgery is often required for correction.
Several surgical procedures can be performed to correct bunion deformities. These are now usually done as an ambulatory procedure, not requiring hospital admission. Some bunion procedures don’t even require stitches after the minimal incision.