Bunion. A painful deviation of the toe.
What is a Bunion?
Before discussing bunion treatment, we should understand what a bunion is, why they happen and how to recognize if you have one.
A bunion is a deformity which occurs in a joint where a metatarsal (long bone in the foot) meets a phalanx (toe bone). A bunion can occur at the base of the hallux (big toe) or at the base of the little toe and can be quite noticeable as there tends to be a bump on the foot. If it occurs on the outside of the foot by the little toe, it is referred to as a bunionette or tailor’s bunion. Bunion deformities can be quite severe, and can cause significant discomfort and even difficulty walking.
Bunions begin as abnormal bony growths within the joint that can cause the toe to angle inward toward the toe next to it. As the joint becomes larger it can cause the bursa, a fluid filled sac that acts as a cushion in the joint, to become inflamed, swollen and painful.
What Causes Bunions and Who Gets Them?
Bunions can be hereditary. They often develop as a result of increased pressure on the toes due to years of wearing improperly fitting shoes. They can also be caused by certain arthritic and neuromuscular conditions. Adolescent bunion is a term for what is usually a genetic condition found in young people typically ranging from 10 to 15 years of age. Bunions are more common among women and the risk of developing them increases with age.
Can I Self Treat My Bunion?
There are things you can do to treat your bunion; however, these are mostly steps you can take to minimize pain. You can apply cold compresses for approximately 20 minutes at a time, 2 to 3 times a day. There are topical analgesic creams and gels as well as over the counter pain relievers known as NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) that both reduce pain and inflammation. These are best thought of as a stop-gap measure to help you deal with pain until you can see a competent podiatrist like Dr. Gowdie of The Foot and Ankle Treatment Center and some of these may be recommended as part of your doctor’s bunion treatment plan.
Since a bunion, if left untreated, can develop into even more painful and difficult conditions such as bursitis or arthritis, it is best not to put off seeking treatment.
Will I Need Bunion Surgery?
Not all bunions are painful and require surgery. Some bunion deformities may be treated conservatively with the use of orthotics, strapping, medication, and change in shoe type. While these options will not remove the bump, they can help to alleviate the pain.
If you are reading this, chances are you are suffering from a bunion and we know they can be quite painful. If so, your best first step is to set an appointment at The Foot and Ankle Treatment Center so that Dr. Gowdie can evaluate your situation and lay out the most effective bunion treatment plan for your specific needs. Call (706) 310-4288 now to set an appointment or click on the tab below to book an appointment online.
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