What are bunions? “Bunion” is the common term for a hallux abducto valgus deformity. It is a bony bump that forms at the base of the big toe. This bump is actually a result of the deformity when the big toe turns inward towards the other toes. Aside from not liking the way the bunion makes the foot look, the main complaint from patients is localized pain at the base of the big toe and the ball of the foot. In addition to being painful, bunions can often cause other foot problems.
Bunions occur more frequently in women than men. The reason why it is believed that more women than men develop bunions is due to wearing shoes that do not fit properly. High-heeled shoes with narrow toes are likely the culprits. However, not all women who wear these types of shoes develop one, so there is also a genetic predisposition or other factors that must be present to cause bunions. Treatment options involve recommended better shoes, foot padding, rest, elevation, and icing. If you think you might have bunions, don’t delay treatment as they could worsen with time or lead to other serious foot problems. Our Palm Beach Gardens podiatrists, or our podiatrists at our six other locations, will provide a diagnosis and discuss a comprehensive treatment plan with you. Call 561-793-6170 to schedule an appointment today or request an appointment online.
What is a Bunion?
A bunion is a bony bump at the outer base of the big toe. The deformity causes your big toe to turn toward the other toes. This is a progressive condition and will get worse without treatment. The joint and the cartilage at the site of the bunion can become swollen and painful, causing more symptoms than just the change in the shape of the foot. The exact cause of a bunion is unknown. In most cases, and especially with women, the cause is attributed to wearing shoes that crowd the feet together. However, since not all patients who wear tight shoes develop bunions and not all patients who develop bunions wear improper footwear, there are other outlying sources. If you have arthritis or other medical issues that causes you to shift your weight when walking, you could be a candidate to develop one. It is less common, but a bunion can occur at the base of the pinky toe, and that is called a bunionette.
Symptoms of Bunions
Besides bunions looking unsightly, they can be quite painful because the ball of your foot absorbs so much of your weight. The stress on the area at the base of the toe can cause the joints and ligaments there to swell up, which causes pain and tenderness. In addition, more problems can form when the portion of foot that is deformed constantly rubs against your shoes causing blisters, corns, or calluses and resulting in even more discomfort. The big toe can also begin to overlap onto the other toes and cause more issues there.
Treatments for Bunions
Bunions are a progressive condition that continues to get worse without treatment. As always, our podiatrists start out with a conservative and non-invasive treatment. Non-invasive bunion treatments such as rest, elevation, and icing can relieve most of the pain. The next step in treating bunions is to recommend proper shoes with plenty of room, comfort, and support. In some cases, prescribed orthotics or special padding can get you back on your feet so that normal activities do not produce the same pain again. . Those treatments address the symptoms, but the actual deformity can be corrected with bunion removal surgery.
What should you expect when visiting the South Florida Foot & Ankle Centers for treatment of bunions? Our doctors understand that active individuals do not like being sidelined and we do everything possible to reduce your pain and safely get you back to the activities you love doing. If your foot pain does not subside after icing and rest, you should come in to see one of our podiatrists so that they can develop a plan of care to get you back on your feet. Diagnosing bunions might involve examining the anatomy of your foot and evaluating your foot wear. X-rays might be used to help get a better understanding of the severity of the bone deformity. The South Florida Foot & Ankle Centers doctors’ have a great deal of clinical experience and expertise in treating conditions of the feet. Our podiatrists specialize in making you feel comfortable by involving you in the treatment plan and explaining all of the available options to you.