What You Should Know About Bunions
Here in Texas, most of us consider ourselves to be the lucky ones—nice weather, sunglasses and sandals 24/7, right?
Well … not really.
While many of us are basking in the warmth of our great state, some of you may be struggling with unsightly bunions. And though you have been getting away with covering your feet up during these past “winter” months, you should have no excuse to be hiding your feet from the world during this upcoming summer season.
Especially because there is definitely something you can do about your painful, frustrating bunion!
But before we give you the solution to your problem, let’s learn a little bit more about this condition – after all, understanding the problem is the first step to successfully addressing it and preventing it from happening in the future.
What Are Bunions?
In short, a bunion is a bump on the side of the big toe—though there is much more going on beneath the surface than we may be able to see through our naked eyes.
This visible bump on the side of your foot is actually the result of your big toe progressively leaning toward the rest of your smaller toes. Although bunions occur most frequently at the base of the big toe, they can also arise on the outside of the foot at the base of the small toe.
Eventually, the big toe may press inward against the smaller toes, even overlapping as far as the third toe in some cases—a condition known as hallux valgus. With some bunions, the big toe also rotates or twists inward. (This is called hallux abducto valgus.)
If you have a bunion, chances are that it has come as no surprise. It has probably been developing slowly throughout the years and gradually getting worse as you continue to ignore its presence.
This is a common mistake that many of us will make. But ignoring signs of change in our feet and ankles is a very bad idea. You shouldn’t wait until your joints become swollen and painful, or until your toe becomes stiff and hinders you from walking before seeking proper medical advice.
Instead, try avoiding things that may increase your chances of developing a bunion (we know that’s easier said than done) and stay on the lookout for any symptoms that indicate you may be developing this condition (in which case, you should come visit us at Waco Foot & Ankle today!)
Causes and Symptoms of Bunions
The truth is that there are many different factors that may be increasing your chances of developing this annoying problem. However, inherited biomechanical flaws in the foot seems to be the most significant risk factor out there—though you should note that it is not the bunion itself that is inherited, but certain foot types that make can make you prone to developing a bunion, like flat feet.
Other common causes include:
- Diseases. Conditions like arthritis or gout can leave the joint vulnerable to misalignment.
- Overpronation. Or any other gait abnormalities or neuromuscular problems which can affect the feet.
- Lifestyle choices. Recurring stress to the foot from activities like running can increase your risk.
- Previous injuries. Recurring trauma can gradually force misalignments in your big toe.
- Ill-fitting shoes. Tight, narrow-toed, or high-heeled footwear should always be avoided.
In fact, wearing proper footwear is one of the best ways to prevent bunions from progressing. A lot of us—women especially—tend to cram our feet in uncomfortable shoes, like dress shoes and heels, on a daily basis. This certainly explains why women are more likely to experience bunion symptoms compared to men.
So, if you are a woman that enjoys strutting high heels often, then you are likely to have experienced at least a couple of the most common bunions symptoms, which include:
- Pain or soreness.
- Inflammation and redness.
- Burning sensation.
- Numbing sensation.
- Calluses on the big toe.
- Sores between the toes.
- Restricted motion of the toe.
As already mentioned, bunions are progressive, and they will not go away when left untreated. In fact, bunions often tend get worse over time. But with a little luck (AND early treatment), conservative treatment methods may be just what you need to get back to living a pain-free life.
At-Home and In-Office Treatments for Bunions
While we can’t change your genetics, there are definitely some steps you can take in order to treat a bunion at home and slow down its progression.
Here are some things you should do:
- Apply ice to the area.
- Rest your foot and avoid motions that apply pressure to the affected joint.
- Wear loose-fitting, non-constricting footwear that does not put pressure on the bunion.
- Take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication as directed.
- Stretch the area with specific exercises to keep the joint mobile.
Though the steps above are great for preventing bunions from progressing or becoming painful, you should seek medical advice and treatment as soon as you suspect that something may be wrong. Maybe you are feeling a slight pain, or maybe you just started noticing some changes in your foot. What you need now is expert diagnosis and solution.
The treatments we provide for bunion related conditions are:
- Orthotics to provide stability and correct positioning.
- Splinting the area during sleep to encourage proper joint alignment.
- Cortisone injections to reduce joint inflammation.
- Removal of corns or calluses.
Keep in mind that when bunions are left untreated, they can lead to toe deformities, like hammertoes, arthritis and bursitis. In severe cases, surgery may even be needed to correct the issue and provide long-term relief.
So if you want to avoid going through that in the future—or if you are already at that stage—don’t delay medical treatment!
Let Us Help You Today!
When you come visit us at our Waco Foot & Ankle office, you can rest assured that you are in good hands. Whether all you need is custom orthotics or if you best option is surgery, we are equipped with the best tools and knowledge available to get you back on your feet as soon and as safely as possible.
To schedule an appointment, call us at (254) 776-6995, or simply fill out our handy request form online.
MON - THU | 8:00am - 5:00pm
FRI | 8:00am - 4:00pm
201 Colonnade Parkway, Suite #100
Woodway, TX 76712