31 May What are Bunions?
How to Banish Bunions
If you’re having foot pain in your big toe, you might have a bunion, a painful growth that affects millions of people every year.
What are the Symptoms of Bunions?
Bunions are easily identifiable by looking at your foot. Do you see a large, bony lump on the base of your big toe? Is it swollen, red and itchy? That’s more than likely a bunion.
When to See a Doctor
The symptoms of bunions can mimic those of other foot problems, including gout and bursitis, so it’s important to get the right diagnosis from a foot care professional.
Bunions are progressive, meaning they get worse if they’re ignored. You could wind up with arthritis or a permanent deformity. Call a podiatrist any time you experience the following symptoms:
- Pain when walking, even in comfortable shoes.
- Tenderness and pain at the joint.
- Redness or swelling.
- Pain or tenderness in the balls of your feet.
- Fever or other signs of infection.
What Causes Bunions?
Abnormal foot function and mechanics. Congenital deformities and improper walking are frequently to blame for bunions. Overpronation, which is the tendency to turn your feet outward when walking, is one of the chief causes. Abnormal development of the foot joints is another.
Heredity. If bunions run in your family, that’s not a coincidence. Scientists have found that there is a genetic component among bunion sufferers.
Gout. Gout often involves painful, chronic inflammation of the big toe joints, which can lead to bunions. In severe cases, you can develop arthritic bunion deformity.
Footwear. Wearing high heels or shoes that are too tight can force intense pressure on the toe joints and cause bunions. Women are much more likely to have bunions than men are, largely from wearing heels and pointed-toe shoes.
Rheumatoid arthritis. Since this involves swelling and stiffness in your joints, it can also lead to bunions.
Trauma. Sprains, strains and foot injuries can leave bunions behind even after the initial trauma has healed.
Can You Prevent Bunions?
If bunions caused by abnormal foot growth are caught early, you can stop them from becoming full-fledged problems through the use of corrective orthotics, stretching and other treatments.
You can prevent bunions and most other foot problems by following a simple routine:
- Always wear comfortable, well-fitting and supportive shoes.
- Stretch carefully after exercising, and don’t forget to stretch your feet and ankles.
- Protect your feet from trauma or sharp objects.
- Schedule regular foot examinations with a podiatrist.
What’s the Best Treatment for Bunions?
A comprehensive treatment plan for bunions will give relief from the immediate symptoms while ensuring that long-term complications don’t happen. Your podiatrist is likely to prescribe a plan that includes all or some of the following measures:
- Pain medication and anti-inflammatories.
- Custom orthotics to improve gait and relieve pressure on the toe joint,
- Steroid injections,
- Ice packs to reduce swelling and pain.
- Special inserts such as bunion pads and toe splints to help cushion and separate the affected joint.
Say “Bye” to Bunions
At Shuman Podiatry & Sports Medicine, we treat bunions and other common foot problems every day in our state-of-the-art Loudoun County clinic. We use the latest diagnostic techniques and the safest, least invasive treatments.
If you’re suffering from bunions, ingrown nail, fungal nail or any other foot problem, call Dr. Shuman and make an appointment. You’ll soon be waving “bye” to foot pain and “hello” to your active, healthy lifestyle.