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Bunion Treatment: What Are The Options?
A bunion is a bump that forms on the joint at the base of the big toe, which forms when the big toe pushes against the next toe to it and forces the joint of the big toe to get bigger and stick out, requiring bunion treatment. Fortunately, it is a condition that can be fixed with a trip to the podiatrist. Even though they usually develop on the joint of the big toe, bunions can also develop on the joint of the little toe as well.
What causes bunions?
According to podiatrists, bunions can be caused by different factors, including:
- Wearing tight-fitting shoes
- Foot injuries
- Congenital deformities at birth
- Inherited foot type
- Bunions can also be associated with certain types of arthritis, especially inflammatory types like rheumatoid arthritis
What are the symptoms of bunions?
Signs and symptoms that may indicate a person has bunions include:
- Redness, swelling or soreness around the joint of the big toe
- Restricted movement of the big toe if the toe is also affected by arthritis
- Persistent or intermittent pain
- Corns or calluses
- A bulging bump on the base of the big toe
How does a podiatrist diagnose bunions?
A podiatrist can determine if a patient has bunions by examining the patient’s foot. After the foot has been examined, the podiatrist will take X-rays of the foot to identify the cause and determine the severity of the bunions.
How are bunions treated?
The treatment options used to treat bunions vary depending on the severity of the case. In mild cases, treatment might not be required. But, in severe cases, the patient might have to undergo surgery to fix the problem.
The non-surgical treatment options include:
- Changing shoes: The podiatrist will recommend wearing comfortable shoes that provide plenty of space for the toes.
- Applying ice on the bunion: Putting ice on the bunion after a patient has been on their feet for a long time relieves the inflammation and soreness.
- Wearing shoe inserts: Wearing padded shoe inserts can help distribute pressure evenly when a patient is walking, reducing their symptoms and preventing the bunions from getting worse. Inserts can be purchased over-the-counter at most pharmacies and convenience stores, or they can be prescribed by the podiatrist.
- Medication: Over-the-counter pain medication like Advil and Tylenol can be taken to control the pain caused by the bunion. Cortisone injections have also been effective when it comes to dealing with the pain.
- Padding or splinting: The podiatrist may recommend using over-the-counter, non-medicated bunion pads or help the patient tape their foot in a normal position to reduce stress on the bunion and alleviate the pain.
If the non-surgical treatment options do not provide relief, the podiatrist will likely recommend surgery to relieve the pain. However, there are different surgical procedures used to treat bunions.
The surgical procedures used to treat bunions might involve:
- Straightening the big toe by removing part of the bone
- Joining the bones of the affected joint permanently
- Realigning the bone between the back part of the foot and the big toe, to straighten out the abnormal angle in the big toe joint
- In some cases, the patient will be able to walk immediately after the procedure. But, it will take a few weeks or months to fully recover
Bunions can cause a lot of pain and make it difficult to walk around. If you have bunions, get ahead of the problem and prevent it from getting worse by scheduling an appointment with a podiatrist today.
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