Whether it’s because of those cute, unsupportive ballet flats or those 3 inch stilettos, you may become a victim to bunions! It is estimated that bunions occur in 33 percent of the population in Western countries. Even though bunions are a common foot deformity, there is a lot of misunderstanding surrounding them. Many people who have bunions may suffer unnecessary pain for years before seeking any kind of treatment. Bunions progressively get worse over time and eventually may need surgery, which is why at DM Foot & Ankle, Dr. Kim and I believe in educating our patients to be proactive about bunions so they can be halted in the early stages.
What is a bunion?
A bunion is a bone deformity caused by an enlargement of the joint at the base and side of the big toe. Bunions form when the toe moves out of place.
How do you recognize a bunion?
The big toe joint appears enlarged and may stick out from the edge of the foot. It can be sensitive to shoes which may result in pain. The big toe usually leans in, and points towards your other toes, instead of pointing straight. In some cases, the big toe moves toward the second toe and rotates or twists, Bunions can also lead to other toe deformities such as hammertoes.
What causes bunions?
Bunions can be caused by several different factors. Wearing shoes that are too tight is the leading cause of bunions. Another cause is faulty foot structure, which tends to run in families. Foot injuries, neuromuscular problems, flat feet, and pronated feet can contribute to bunion formation as well.
How are bunions treated?
First, the pressure and pain from irritations must be relieved. Second, any progressive growth of the bunion must be stopped. Here are some common ways to treat bunions- keep in mind, these treatments may alleviate the pain, but will not correct the existing bunion:
- Protective padding to eliminate the friction against shoes and help alleviate inflammation and skin problems.
- Removal of corns and calluses on the foot.
- Changing to footwear that is designed to accommodate the bunion and not contribute toward its growth.
- Orthotics—to help stabilize the joint and place the foot in a more optimal position for walking and standing.
- Exercises to maintain joint mobility and prevent stiffness or arthritis.
- Toe Splints to help the toes and joint align properly while you sleep.
- Surgery – removing the bunion surgically, aka a bunionectomy; this is the only way to correct an existing bunion.
At DM Foot & Ankle, we offer comprehensive and effective treatment for bunions. Dr. Kim and I find that many people wait too long to see a doctor about their bunions and end up having permanent damage by the time they get it checked out. We advise our patients to start treatment as soon as possible to avoid further enlargement and pain. If you or someone you know may have a bunion, Dr. Kim and I encourage you to stop by DM Foot & Ankle to see if we can start a treatment process that best suits your needs!
BY: Diana Emini