What is a Bunion?
A bunion is a progressive foot deformity that results from mechanical imbalance and undue stress on the big toe joint. This leads to a bony prominence on the inside or top of the toe joint and drifting of the big toe, causing crowding to the smaller toes. Bunions themselves develop slowly and the amount of pain that they cause will gradually increase.
What Causes Bunions to Form?
Contrary to popular belief, bunions are aggravated, not caused, by shoes. Bunions are usually an inherited deformity of the foot, and those with family members with bunions are at an increased chance of developing them. Bunions more commonly affect women due to wearing high-heeled and pointed-toed shoes, which aggravate the condition. Symptoms include pain at the great toe joint, swelling, redness, corns, calluses, and difficulty wearing shoes. Because bunions are a progressive foot deformity, it is best to see a podiatrist for diagnosis and treatment to correct the problem before severe pain, arthritis, and deformity occur.
A bunion is diagnosed by our podiatrists with physical examination and x-rays. Conservative (non-surgical) treatment includes padding, icing, anti-inflammatories, custom orthotics (shoe inserts), and accommodating shoe gear. Depending upon your symptoms, age, and activity, surgical correction of a bunion may be advised by your podiatrist.
Treating a Bunion
There are many different surgical procedures for bunion deformities. In our office, your podiatrist will review your x-rays with you and determine the best treatment option for your specific condition, life style, and goals. Bunion surgery is performed by your podiatrist at either a hospital or surgical center. Patients go home the same day and follow up in the office weekly or every other week for x-rays and evaluation. Most of our patients are placed in a cast to protect the foot during recovery for an average of four weeks.
Tips for Proper Shoe Fit
Finding shoes that fit properly is key in minimizing bunion irritation. When picking shoes, try to find pairs with thick soles and a wide toe box. The toe portion of your shoes should be wide enough that they are not squeezing your toes uncomfortably. During the fitting process, make sure that you are standing to get an accurate idea of how the shoes will fit. If the shoes feel too tight in any way during the fitting, don’t assume that they will stretch out with time. It is also ideal to try on shoes at the end of the day if possible; this way, your feet won’t be as swollen.
If you have more questions about bunion treatment or diagnosis, please contact our team at Alpine Foot Specialists today.
Before & After Surgery Photos