Posts for tag: Bunions
A bunion is one of the most common foot deformities, often affecting the joint at the base of the big toe. Anyone can develop this painful condition but it most often occurs in women. A bunion affects the structure of the foot, causing the joint to become enlarged, which causes the big toe to lean inward towards the other toes. In some cases, the big toe even overlaps the toes. This deformed joint may often become red or swollen, especially when wearing certain shoes or after certain physical activities.
A bunion is a gradual deformity, which means that as soon as you begin to notice changes in the joint or you start to experience symptoms you should consult a podiatrist. While the only way to correct the deformity is through surgery this is usually the last treatment option. After all, a foot doctor can often create a treatment plan that will reduce pain and prevent the deformity from progressing without needing to turn to surgery.
The first course of treatment is usually more conservative. You may be able to manage your bunion pain and swelling by:
- Taking over-the-counter NSAIDs
- Icing the bunion for up to 15 minutes at a time, 2-3 times a day
- Placing orthotics into your shoes to alleviate pressure on the joint (talk to your podiatrist about creating custom orthotics)
- Splinting or taping the foot to improve the structural alignment
- Wearing appropriate and supportive footwear that doesn’t put pressure on the toes or bunion
- Applying a bunion pad over the area to prevent a callus from forming while wearing shoes
- Avoiding certain activities and sports that could exacerbate your condition
For many people, these lifestyle changes and simple at-home treatment options are all that’s needed to reduce bunion pain and discomfort, and to prevent the problem from getting worse. Of course, if you find that at-home care isn’t providing you with relief, or if bunion pain is persistent or severe, then you should turn to a podiatrist for an evaluation. Not sure if you have a bunion or not? Call your foot doctor.
When should someone consider bunion surgery?
As we mentioned earlier, bunion surgery is considered a last resort when all other treatment options have been exhausted and they haven’t helped get your bunion symptoms under control. You may also want to consider getting bunion surgery if:
- Your bunion is large and makes it difficult to wear shoes
- Your bunion pain is severe and chronic
- You have trouble walking or moving around because of your bunion
- Your bunion is affecting your quality of life
It can take up to 6 months to fully recover from traditional bunion surgery so it’s important to discuss all of your treatment options with your podiatrist to find the most effective method for getting your bunion symptoms under control.
What is a Bunion?
What Causes Bunions?
How a Podiatrist Can Help
Prevention is Key
A bunion is an abnormal, bony prominence that develops on the joint at the base of your big toe. As the big toe joint becomes enlarged, it forces the toe to crowd against your other toes, and the pressure exerted on your big toe joint results in inflammation and pain. Early treatment is necessary to decrease the risk of developing joint deformities.
Bunions develop due to prolonged abnormal pressure or motion on your big toe joint, most often caused by inherited structural defects, poor-fitting shoes, foot injuries, or congenital deformities. Women are generally more prone to bunions because of the shoe types typically worn, such as high-heels and narrow-toed shoes.
Bunion pain can range from mild to severe, often making it difficult to wear shoes and perform normal activities. You should contact our office if you notice the following symptoms:
- An enlarged, visible bulge on your big toe joint
- Restricted movement of your big toe or foot that prevents you from performing normal activities
- Irritation, corns or calluses caused by the overlap of the first and second toes
- Frequent pain, swelling or redness around your big toe joint
Treatment For a Bunion
Treatment for a bunion will vary depending on its severity. Identifying the condition in its early stages is important to avoid surgery, with the main objective of early treatment being to relieve pressure and stop the progression of the deformity. Many times conservative treatments, such as padding, modified footwear or orthotic devices can be highly effective for preventing further growth and reducing the pressure and pain.
We recommend the following for reducing pressure and pain caused by bunions:
- Wear comfortable shoes that don't cramp or irritate your toes and avoid high-heeled shoes
- Apply ice to reduce inflammation and pain
- Our podiatrists can show you how to apply padding to your foot to place it in its normal position and reduce stress on the bunion
When early treatments fail or the persistent pain associated with your bunion is interfering with your daily activities, a surgical procedure may be recommended as a last resort to realign the toe joint and alleviate the pressure. We can advise you on the best treatment options available to relieve pressure on the bunion and slow the progression of the joint deformity.
When a patient with a bunion comes to my office I often hear the same sad tale. “My mother always made me wear shoes that were too small for me when I was a child.” This rubs me the wrong way, because I know better. First of all, I was raised in the South, and I know better than to blame mama. Secondly, I know that the real cause of a bunion is usually not tight fitting shoes. The most common cause of a bunion is genetics, and it pains me to say it, but you just might be able to blame Mama for that.
A bunion is a foot deformity on the outside of your big toe joint. Bunions develop over time due to improper foot motion and abnormal joint stress. After awhile this motion and stress forces the bone and soft tissue at the base of the big toe into an abnormal position, creating a bony prominence (a bump, if you will) and instability.
Most bunions occur in woman (actually 9 times more than occur in men). Since women generally wear tighter, higher-heeled shoes than men, it’s no surprise that many women blame their bunions on tight shoes. The fact is that their XX chromosomes and family are mostly to blame. Tight, high-heeled shoes may contribute to development of the deformity, can cause bunions to progress quicker, and they certainly make bunions more symptomatic. Most women with a bunion can attest to the fact that daily wearing of peep toe, pointy toe, or very high-heeled shoes make a bunion very painful. For those with flat feet ballet flats will usually feel more comfortable, but their lack of support can be a developing bunion’s best friend.
When choosing shoes, be reasonable. I tell my patient’s that there’s nothing wrong with wearing those sexy Christian Louboutin heels to dinner or a nice event. They just shouldn’t be your everyday shoes. The APMA has given its Seal of Acceptance to shoes that have room for your piggies (and your bunion), a reasonable heel height, and a supportive arch. To see the shoes with the Seal visit APMA.org/Seal.
So, the question remains, what can be done after you have a bunion? There are several conservative options that patients can try as well as surgical correction. I have already touched on better shoe choices, so I won’t belabor the point. Get shoes that fit your feet- period. You may also find padding and strapping devices helpful at relieving the pressure on an inflamed bunion. At Advanced Food and Ankle Care we have several options in this category, and we can help in choosing the one that is right for you. Often over the counter anti-inflammatories such as Ibuprofen provide pain relief from a bunion. I often prescribe oral or topical anti-inflammatories for my patients, and I find that these offer satisfactory relief. Custom orthotics are a great option, especially for an early or developing bunion. These help correct mal-alignment problems and can keep a bunion from developing further. They can also relieve some of the pressure on the great toe joint. Cortisone injections can be very effective at relieving the painful joint inflammation a bunion can cause. Some patients even find relief from physical therapy and yoga. All of these conservative treatments can help relieve the pain caused by they bunion, but they will not get rid of the bump that is already there.
Surgery is warranted if your bunion is painful and interferes with your quality of life. Your particular surgical procedure depends on where in your foot the deformity is originating from and how severe your bunion is. The doctors at Advanced Foot and Ankle Care perform well over 100 bunion surgeries every year, and we would be happy to evaluate your bunion and decide which treatment would be best tailored to you.
In April 2013 the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) launched its spring campaign, “Beat Bunion Blues” with informative posters, a video, and even a Beat Bunion Blues Pinterest pinboard. I will leave you with these 5 bunion facts, provided by the APMA:
#1. Bunions are two to nine times more common in women than in men.
#2. 55% of American women have bunions.
#3. Wearing high heels may increase your risk of developing bunions. The narrow toe box and increased pressure on the front of the foot can put the toe joints out of alignment.
#4. 72% of Americans say that foot pain affects their daily life, but only 22% of Americans with foot pain have consulted a podiatrist.
#5. Up to 95% of patients who undergo bunion surgery are satisfied with the results.
If you would like to find out more about the APMAs “Beat Bunion Blues” campaign go to AMPA.org/Bunion.
What is it?
A “Hammertoe” is an abnormal bending down of a toe so as to resemble a hammer or a claw. It is similar to other deformities such as “claw toe” and “mallet toe,” with the only difference being where on the toe the bending occurs.
What causes it?
Hammertoes can arise from a variety of causes. Genetics are thought to play a role. They can occur due to other deformities, such as from bunions. They can also occur from poor shoe choices, such as high heels and flip flops: the constant clenching of your toes to keep flip flops on your feet can accelerate hammertoe formation, and the extra pressure and that is put on your toes while wearing high heels can also cause your toes to retract.
What are the symptoms?
What treatments are available?
For some patients, conservative treatments such as specialized orthotics may relieve some of the pain associated with hammertoes. Shoe modification is important, so pick shoes that offer wider toe boxes and avoid high heels and flip flops.
For select patients, surgery may be necessary if the deformity is advanced. In this case, our doctors here at Advanced Foot and Ankle Care would be happy to discuss all your options with you and make sure that all other reasonable options have been exhausted.