Dealing with Bunions

A common condition that we treat at Superior Foot & Ankle Center is the bunion. A bunion, also known as hallux valgus, is an enlargement of the joint at the base of the big toe which forms when the bone of the joint moves out of place and toward the second toe. The further the toe moves the more the framework of the foot becomes deformed and the bigger the bump that forms on the outside of the toe grows. Bunions can cause considerable pain due to all the weight and pressure put on the big toe as you walk and also from the friction that occurs from shoes rubbing on the protrusion. Other symptoms include inflammation and redness, a burning sensation and numbness. Bunions are progressive. Over time, corns or calluses may form on the toe and the range of motion may become limited.

What’s Behind a Bunion?

Bunions form as a result of an abnormality in the structure of the foot which shifts the forces exerted on the joints and tendons in a way that causes instability and ultimately deformity of the joint. Possible reasons for this include:

  • Inherited faulty foot mechanics
  • Neuromuscular disorders
  • Consistently wearing shoes that have narrow toe boxes and/or are too small, squeezing the toes together in an unnatural position

Treatment and Relief

Many people suffer unnecessarily with bunions. It is true that when bunions are severe and causing serious disability and pain that surgery may be needed to remove the bony enlargement and correct the alignment of the toe joint. Before reaching that point, however, there are several conservative treatment options available, including:

  • Changing to shoes with wide toe boxes and avoiding high heels
  • Padding and/or taping the toe to reduce pain and keep the toe in its correct position
  • Ice packs, anti-inflammatory medications and cortisone injections to lessen pain and inflammation
  • Custom orthotic inserts for your shoes to correct toe alignment and take pressure off the painful area

You won’t know what relief is available until you have one of our podiatrists, Dr. Victoria Foley and Dr. Constance Omelas examine your bunion and determine its severity. If you are suffering with bunion symptoms, contact our Long Beach office by calling 562-420-9800 for an appointment today.