What are bunions?

A bunion is a protrusion from the metatarsophalangeal joint, the base joint of your big toe. Bunions develop when the metatarsophalangeal joint grows enlarged and gravitates inwards. This can put pressure on your other toes. Sometimes, your big toe can even overlap the next toe. You can also get a bunionette on your pinkie toe.

Because the affected joint is so important for proper body weight distribution, a bunion can make walking, standing, and even wearing most shoes pretty difficult.

Why did I get bunions?

Since you inherit your foot type from your parents, you may also inherit the kind of poor foot mechanics that can cause bunions. Bunions can develop in anyone who regularly moves, pressures, or stresses their metatarsophalangeal joint in an abnormal way.

What are the symptoms of bunions?

Some of the telltale signs of bunions include:

  • Pain or chronic soreness at the base of your big toe
  • Red skin around the base of your big toe
  • Burning when you stand or walk
  • Numbness when you stand or walk

In most cases, bunion symptoms are at their worst when you’re wearing shoes that compress your toes. High heels or pointed-toe shoes are well-known culprits for bunion aggravation.

What is the treatment for bunions?

After your Foot and Ankle Specialists podiatrist diagnoses your bunion, they’ll create an effective treatment plan. Sometimes, you don’t need treatment if a bunion isn’t causing serious problems. In this case, your podiatrist may recommend observation, including periodic evaluation including X-ray imaging.

If you’re having pain or other symptoms, your podiatrist can recommend the following changes to minimize your pain.

  • Footwear changes: Change tight toe boxes for wide ones that give your toes room
  • Bunion pads: Soft pads, applied to your bunion before you put your shoes on
  • Ice application: Ice packs on your bunions to alleviate symptoms
  • Orthotics: Custom orthotics to reposition your big toe
  • Activity changes: Reducing activities that aggravate your bunion
  • Oral medication: Over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen
  • Injections: Corticosteroid injections to relieve inflammation

The bunion remedies above, while often effective, don’t actually remove the bunion. If noninvasive remedies don’t help, you may need surgery for bunion pain. Your podiatrist can surgically remove the bony bump and correct any other damage caused by your bunion.

Need help for a bumpy bunion? Foot and Ankle Specialists are ready to help. Click to book online, or call the location closest to you for an appointment today.

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