One of the most common foot deformities is bunions. They come in all shapes and sizes – from a slight bump at the base of the big toe with the toe relatively straight to a large bump with the big toe that causes it to turn horizontally.
A person of any age can develop a bunion, although it is more common among adults. While wearing tight-fitting shoes can accelerate the formation of a bunion, its root cause is often hereditary, with children demonstrating the start of bunion formation as early as birth. Other causes include trauma or neuromuscular disease.
Whatever the cause, the bottom line is that bunions are not only an unsightly imperfection in the structure of your foot, but they can also cause pain and make wearing shoes more difficult. The only question is, how do you get rid of a bunion without resorting to surgery?
Treatment Options for Bunions
Bunions can cause foot pain for a number of reasons. They can compress a nerve that causes burning or numbness in the big toe. They can also irritate the big toe’s bursa, a fluid-filled sac near most joints, thereby causing bursitis. There is also arthritis of the bunion, which occurs when cartilage deteriorates, resulting in bone-on-bone grinding and pain, limiting your ability to lead an active lifestyle and making bunion correction more complicated. Most bunion treatments involve resolving symptoms and slowing down the progression of bunion formation.
One solution for painful bunions is orthotics, custom shoe inserts designed to correct poor foot mechanics and, in the process, stop or slow the progression of a bunion. Professionally prescribed orthotics can reduce deformities by controlling the inward rolling of your foot and supporting the first metatarsal, the bone in your foot just behind your big toe.
Other non-surgical treatments for bunions include injections of cortisone or oral anti-inflammatory medication and wearing custom-made shoes that accommodate the bunion deformity. Both help provides comfort and relieve pain, but do not reduce the abnormal angles that underlie the bunion deformity.
The only definitive solution for removing a bunion and correcting the foot’s structures is a bunionectomy, a surgical procedure that moves toes back into their correct position. Although bunion surgery is highly successful in most cases, you should discuss the risks involved with your surgeon. Also, note that it can take many weeks to recover from bunion surgery and that physical therapy may be recommended to help restore strength and motion in your foot.
Bunion Correction in Rhode Island and Massachusetts
Bunion treatment, including surgery, must be tailored to your specific situation, your overall health, your preferences, and your doctor’s recommendation. A successful outcome requires the skill and expertise of a surgeon well-versed in bunionectomy and other treatments.
At the Foot & Ankle Institute of New England, our board-certified podiatrists and surgeon have the expertise in medical and surgical podiatric care, as well as comprehensive podiatry services and solutions to help patients of all ages suffering from a wide range of foot and ankle conditions, including bunions.
For the best possible care for your foot or ankle issues, you can schedule a consultation with one of our foot and ankle experts by calling the nearest office of the Foot & Ankle Institute of New England in Warwick or Middletown, Rhode Island, or Fall River, Massachusetts. Or, if you prefer, simply request an appointment online.