It’s October, which means it’s time for Halloween and all things scary, and very few things are scarier than problems with our feet. Because our feet are responsible for our daily movement, any problems with them can have a systemic effect on the rest of our bodies and our overall quality of life.
What is a Bunion?
A common ailment that affects many of our feet is the bunion. Characterized as a bump on the joint at the base of the big toe, bunions form when the joint becomes enlarged and causes the big toe to bend toward the others. This then forces the bone to move out of place and cause the painful bump. Because this joint bears a lot of the body’s weight while walking and standing, bunions can cause a great deal of pain if left untreated. Not only can it become difficult to walk when you have a bunion, but even wearing shoes can be painful. Besides the bump, some other typical symptoms of bunions include:
  • Swelling, soreness or redness around the joint
  • Thickening of the skin at the base of the toe
  • Corns or calluses where the big toe and second toe overlap
  • Restricted movement of the big toe
Faulty foot development caused by either an improper gait or from an inherited foot type is what causes bunions to form. Common risk factors include:
  • Ill-fitting shoes or high heels
  • Inherited structural defect
  • Stress on the foot
  • Medical conditions, such as arthritis
Whatever the cause of this faulty foot development, it can lead to instability in the foot, which causes the bunion to develop after years of abnormal motion and pressure wear on the joint at the base of the big toe.
If you believe you are suffering from a bunion, your podiatrist can diagnose and treat the condition. Conservative treatments are usually tried first and include:
  • Wearing roomy shoes with plenty of space for your toes
  • Adding padding and taping to reduce stress on the bunion
  • OTC pain relievers
  • Custom foot orthotics to help control abnormal movement of the foot
  • Night splints to correct the bunion while you sleep
  • Cortisone injections
If these treatments do not work, surgery may be required. To find out how your podiatrist can help relieve your pain and correct your bunion, schedule an appointment today!