What causes bunions, and what do you do about them?

I wasn’t sure whether to put this here or in MPSIMS. Okay, what causes bunions? What do they consist of? Why are they painful? How do you treat them?

My mother has very bad ones, which cannot be attributed to wearing uncomfortable shoes, because I think she’d kill anyone who tried to force her to wear heels. I’ve read that they’re partly genetic, which is very bad, because I’m starting to get one on my right foot- at twenty-three! And I’ve worn nothing but hiking boots or Doc Martens for the past eight years!

So, what can I do to restore my right foot? The only less-constricting footwear I can think of is sandals, which will get a bit nippy in a Canadian winter… :frowning:

From the Mayo Clinic:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/findinformation/diseasesandconditions/invoke.cfm?id=DS00309