For many, a bunion has been a longtime companion—and an unwelcome one at that.
Some people have lived with a protruding, often painful bump along their big toe for so long that they don’t feel there is anything that can be done for it. Or they feel that something can be done for it, but the only option is surgery.
We have good news, though: no matter how long you have had a bunion, there is often something you can do to help manage the deformity, slow its progression, and make yourself a lot more comfortable. And this is frequently without surgery, too—in fact, we prefer conservative treatments to surgery whenever possible!
How do Bunions Happen?
A bunion forms when your biggest toe shifts against its neighboring toe, causing the joint of the big toe to enlarge and bulge out away from the foot.
This bulge is often accompanied by swelling, soreness, corns, or calluses as the joint becomes irritated or the toe rubs against your shoes. Pain from a bunion can be consistent, or only happen now and then.
Bunions are theorized to develop as a result of an imbalance in the foot. This can be something that is genetically inherited, or could have been the result of a past injury or a congenital deformity. Certain conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis also appear to increase one’s chances of bunions.
The debate rages on over whether shoe choices are responsible for causing bunions. Whether they are or not, shoes with tight toe boxes or high heels that force pressure toward the front of the foot can definitely make existing bunions worse. No matter what state your feet are in, avoid ill-fitting shoes at all costs!
Treatments for Bunions
Precision Foot and Ankle believes that conservative care options should always be considered first when treating a bunion.
While a bunion can never be corrected without surgery, there is no need for such a procedure if other forms of treatment can relieve pain, provide comfort, and prevent progression of the shifting joint.
Forms of conservative treatment include:
- Shoe changes – Switching to footwear that is better accommodating of a bunion can go a long way toward relieving pain, pressure, and irritation.
- Padding – Specialized bunion pads can reduce friction against prominent areas, preventing them from rubbing against the inside of a shoe or other toes.
- Orthotic inserts – Custom-made inserts can help distribute pressure more evenly across the foot and prevent excess pressure toward the front of the foot.
- Exercises – In some cases, stretches and exercises that build strength and stability within the toes can help prevent the progression of a bunion.
In typical cases, we prefer trying conservative forms of treatment for at least three months. If these have little or no effect, however, we might then consider surgery as an option.
There are multiple forms of bunion surgery, and the specific procedure performed will depend on one’s condition, lifestyle, and needs.
Different procedures might involve removing or shaving down part of the bone to straighten the toe, removing swollen tissue from around the joint, or performing reconstructive bone alignment. We will be sure to fully discuss all the options, including their pros and cons, with you before making any decisions to move forward.
The Worst Thing You Can Do for Your Bunion…
…is absolutely nothing!
Don’t let a bunion continue unabated if it’s making your feet miserable. We have the tools and expertise to help you find the comfort and relief you need.
Our office in Pinellas Park is here to help with bunions and many other foot and ankle needs. Give us a call at (727) 399-7167 or use our online contact form to schedule an appointment.