A common misconception people have is that a bunion is a growth on the side of the foot, like a corn, callus, or cyst. While a bunion looks like a bump on the base of the big toe, it is actually the joint between the toe and the foot bone that is sticking out because of a misalignment in the foot.
When the metatarsal bone in the foot turns outward, it forces the first phalanges bone of the big toe to turn inward. As a result, the joint between the two bones protrudes out the side. In advanced cases, the big toe can be bent to such a degree that it crosses over the smaller toes and puts them out of alignment as well.
A bunion is much more complex than a simple bump, and the only treatment that can resolve the problem once and for all is surgery. Before surgery becomes necessary, however, a podiatrist can help you with conservative measures to ease pain and discomfort.