Why does the bone protrude on the leg and what to do about it

Why does the bone protrude on the leg and what to do about it

Why does the bone protrude on the leg and what to do about it

August 7, 2019

Educational program Health

Tight, high-heeled shoes may not be to blame.
Photo by Ekaterina Komissarova

Ekaterina Komissarova

Lifehacker medical journalist

Why does the bone protrude on the leg and what to do about it



This problem is more common than it seems. That’s it datathat up to half of all adults suffer from bursitis of the big toe (as a protruding bone is called in medical terminology).

For many, the disease can be, if not prevented, then stopped at an early stage. Now let’s figure out how.

Where does the bone on the leg come from?

Typically, bursitis is calloused and hard to the touch. It really looks like a bone growth. And partly this is true.

To understand where it comes from, in the most general terms, consider how arranged the foot in general and the big toe in particular.


The thumb has two joints. The larger one is the metatarsophalangeal, where the first long bone of the foot (metatarsal) meets the first bone of the toe (phalanx). This articulation of the bones looks like a straight line. Take a look at a healthy foot – it is in the picture on the right.

But if the load on it increases or is redistributed (for example, due to weight gain, standing work, or uncomfortable, wobbly shoes), the joint changes shape to help the foot maintain its off-balance.

The metatarsal bone goes outward, the phalangeal rushes to the index finger, and the metatarsophalangeal joint itself begins to resemble a triangle more and more. From the outside, it looks like the thumb is turning around and trying to get under the neighbor. This curvature is called valgus deformity of the foot.


Due to the fact that the articular bones constantly press on soft tissues, the subcutaneous fatty tissue becomes thinner, and the top layer of the skin thickens and hardens like a corn. This is how the “bone” appears.

Why does the bone on the leg protrude

Excess weight or uncomfortable shoes may play a role in the formation of hallux valgus. However, experts considerthat these are by no means the determining reasons. There are many overweight people and even more lovers of dizzying stilettos who, nevertheless, have everything in order with their feet.

To be honest, doctors have not yet figured out the exact cause of bursitis. But, according to observations, most often a protruding bone on the leg provokes one of the following factors:

  • Heredity. It is assumed that people receive from relatives the structure of the bones and the propensity for the appearance of the bone.
  • Foot injuries.
  • Congenital deformities of the feet.
  • Some types of arthritis. In particular, inflammatory: for example, rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Disorders that affect nerves and muscles. For example, polio.

What to do if the bone on the leg protrudes

Much depends on how strongly manifested valgus deformity.

The bone has just emerged

Or you just found that calluses began to appear too often under the base of the thumb. In this case, you can try to cope with home methods.

1. Choose the right shoes

Avoid narrow, pointed models that clench your toes, or shoes with high, unstable heels. They are not the true cause of bursitis, but may accelerate its development. Your option is comfortable loose shoes with a small heel. If you’re used to flats, it’s time to switch to sneakers.

2. Buy orthopedic insoles

Best of all – individual, which are made according to the cast of your foot. They help correct deformity and relieve pressure on the metatarsophalangeal joint of the big toe.

3. Use silicone toe separators


These pads reduce friction between the fingers, keep the thumb in the correct position and prevent it from deviating further.

4. Avoid activities that can aggravate hallux valgus

For example, try not to stand still for a long time or refuse to carry heavy things.

The bone is clearly expressed

And she is accompanied by discomfort: pain when walking, swelling, burning. Here you definitely can not do without a visit to an orthopedic surgeon.

The doctor will look into your medical history, ask about your lifestyle and symptoms. He may suggest taking an X-ray of the foot to get a more accurate picture of exactly how the bones are displaced. Depending on the results, treatment will be prescribed.

In most cases, a protruding bone is treated with non-surgical methods.

The doctor will help you choose the right shoes, orthopedic insoles, silicone pads between your toes. If there is pain, he will advise you to use over-the-counter painkillers: for example, based on ibuprofen. For swelling, if necessary, you will be given cortisone injections.

Surgical operations are performed only in extreme cases – when the deformity of the foot reaches such a level that it begins to threaten the health of other joints of the legs.

Surgery is not to be feared. In modern conditions, the operation takes half an hour or an hour, and after it you are completely you can leave the doctor’s office on their own, in specially selected shoes that will reduce the load on the forefoot. Full recovery will take from several weeks to several months.

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