What’s the Best Way of Dealing with Bunions?
Are you prone to bunions? Maybe they develop because of the shoes you wear or maybe you’re unlucky and they run in your family. Either way, bunions aren’t something that you have to live with forever.
But before you try some drastic home remedy, here’s a quick look at bunions and how to deal with them.
What are Bunions?
The most common type of bunion is an enlargement of the inner portion of the joint at the base of the big toe. This enlargement means that your big toe’s joint is misaligned or that you have an additional bone formation. The misalignment of the big toe causes it to point outward and rotate toward the smaller toes.
A less common type of bunion is located at the joint at the bottom of the pinky toe. This type of bunion is also known as a tailor’s bunion or a bunionette.
Bunions tend to affect a greater amount of women than men. This is most likely a result of the fact that women tend to wear tighter-fitting shoes, which can increase the risk of bunion formation. It has been reported that bunions are more prevalent in people who wear closed shoes than in barefoot people.
Bunions are a progressive deformity and will increase with time, if not properly managed, although the symptoms may or may not get worse.
Causes and Symptoms
Bunions tend to develop when the pressures of bearing and shifting your weight fall unevenly on the joints and tendons in your feet. This shift in pressure causes the big toe’s joint to be unstable, eventually causing the parts of the joint to mold into a hard knob that juts out.
Some of the causes of bunions include:
- Wearing tight shoes and/or high heels
- Inherited (genetic) factors
- Trauma (sprains, fractures, and nerve injuries)
- Neuromuscular disorders (polio or Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease)
- One leg is shorter than the other
- Congenital deformities
While not all bunions cause symptoms, some of the symptoms that bunions can produce are:
- A bulging bump at the base of your big (or little) toe
- Thickening of skin at the base of your toe
- Corns or calluses
- Persistent or intermittent pain
- Restricted toe movement
There are many ways that you can help alleviate the pain of having bunions, all of which can be placed into two categories: conservative treatment and surgical options.
Conservative treatment for your bunions includes:
- Changing shoes
- Padding and taping your foot into a normal position
- Medications (acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen)
- Shoe inserts
- Maintaining a normal weight through a healthy diet
- Protect the bunion with a moleskin or gel-filled pad
- Wear a splint at night to hold the toe straight
- Use warm soaks, ice packs, whirlpool, ultrasound, and massage
Surgical options include:
- Removing the bump
- Removing part of the bone to straighten your toe
- Realigning the long bone that connects the back of your foot to your big toe
- Permanently joining the bones of your affected joint
If a diagnosis of your bunion is made early on, it is possible for the bunion’s development to be slowed and, in some cases, stopped with the proper supportive gear. Avoidance of athletic activities with improper shoe fit and toe pressure can also help prevent bunion symptoms to occur.
Some simple ways to help prevent bunions are:
- Wear shoes that don’t cramp or irritate your toes
- Choose shoes with a wide toe (space between the tip of your longest toe and the end of your shoe)
- Your shoes should conform to the shape of your feet without any squeezing or pressing on any part of your foot
- Avoid pointy-toed shoes
- Avoid shoes with heels higher than 2 ¼ inches
Schedule a Consultation
Before trying any conservative methods, it is important that you get a proper diagnosis from your podiatrist to determine what your best options are for dealing with your bunions. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Vikki and Dr. Connie, so that they can help you deal with your bunions properly. With years of collective experience in her field, Dr. Vikki and Dr. Connie are your go-to team in helping you make the right decision about how to get rid of your bunion pain.