A bunion is a bony bump at the base of the big toe that gets worse over time. It is not a growth or cyst, however, but rather it is the actual joint between the big toe and the foot bone that is out of alignment. Bunions are believed to be caused by a faulty foot structure that is inherited. A bunion can begin to develop in early adulthood and gets worse with age. Bunions may sometimes develop with arthritis.

Wearing the wrong kind of shoes, such as high heels with pointed toes and other footwear that is too tight, can also make a bunion worse. Shoes with narrow toe boxes squeeze the toes and gradually push the foot bones further out of alignment. You might be able to slow the development of a bunion by wearing shoes with wide toe boxes and using custom orthotics to cushion the ball of the foot.