If you suffer from deformity or foot pain due to a bunion, please Schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists as soon as possible.
What is a Bunion?
Physicians define a Bunion as a bony bump that forms at the base of your big toe and protrudes to the side. It occurs due to the bones in the toe moving out of place. This causes the tip of the big toe to pull toward the smaller toes and pushes the joint at the base of the big toe to stick outwards. The skin over the bunion might inflame and appear red and sore.
Wearing narrow or uncomfortable shoes may contribute to bunions or cause them to worsen. Bunions may also develop as a result of a foot deformity or medical condition, such as arthritis.
Smaller bunions can also develop on the joint of your little toe.
The symptoms of a bunion can include:
- A bulge on the outside of the joint of your big toe
- Swelling, soreness or redness around the big toe joint
- Corns or calluses often develop between the first and second toes as they rub against each other
- Ongoing pain
- Limited big toe movement
Specialists theorize about how bunions develop, but no one knows the exact cause. Factors likely include:
- stress or injuries to the foot
- Birth Defects
Experts disagree whether tight shoes cause bunions or whether footwear only partially contributes to the development of bunions.
Bunions might appear alongside certain types of arthritis, most notably inflammatory types, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
The following factors can increase the likelihood of forming a bunion:
- Wearing high heels or poorly fitted shoes can force the toes into unnatural positions, and over a long time can influence the development of bunions.
- Rheumatoid arthritis causes inflammation in the joints, disrupting the area and making it more likely to develop bunions.
- In some cases the inherited anatomical structure of the foot itself can increase the risk of developing bunions.
To help prevent bunions, patients should choose their shoes carefully. Look for a wide toe box rather than pointy toes, and enough space at the end of the shoe to easily move the toes.
Your shoes should fit to the shape of your feet without squeezing or pressing any part of your foot.
How Do You Treat Bunions?
The severity of the bunion itself will determine what treatment your foot and ankle specialist will recommend.
Conservative Treatment for Bunions
Before deciding on bunion surgery, your physician will first attempt conservative treatments. Patients can reduce their bunion pain by:
- Wearing better shoes. Patients should avoid shoes that cramp their toes, and find shoes that provide comfort and space to move the toes.
- Applying padding to the Foot. Adding a soft buffer between the painful toe and the shoe can help relieve bunion pain. Patients can find bunion pads and cushions at most over the counter pharmacies.
- Taking Medications. Over the counter Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications can help relieve pain and cut down on inflammation. Acetaminophen, ibuprofen and naproxen sodium may all help relieve bunion pain. In worse cases, physicians may also use Cortisone injections to relieve pain.
- Shoe Inserts. Whether over the counter or specially prescribed by your physician, Padded inserts can help cushion the foot within the shoes and disperse pressure away from problem areas.
- Applying ice. In a pinch, patients can use an ice pack on their feet after periods of increased activity to help keep inflammation down and relieve soreness.
If these treatments fail to relieve foot pain related to a developing bunion, some patients may require surgery to fully correct the bunion. Foot and Ankle Specialists recommend only resorting to surgical intervention in the case that the bunion causes pain and interferes with patients daily lives. Specialists usually recommend against performing bunion surgery for the purpose of simply making the foot look better.