Bunions are a common foot problem, but many people suffering with them do not seek treatment! A bunion is often described as a bump on the side of a big toe, but it is more than that! A bunion is a bone deformity caused by an enlargement of the joint at the base and side of the big toe. Bunions form when the toe moves out of place. The big toe leans toward the second toe, rather than pointing straight ahead.
This throws the bones out of alignment and produces the bunion bump. The bump then causes friction and pressure as they rub against your footwear. Bunions are most often caused by an inherited faulty mechanical structure of the foot. The bunion itself is not inherited, but certain foot types make a person prone to developing a bunion. Wearing tight shoes that crowd the toes can make the deformity get progressively worse and cause symptoms to appear sooner than they would have otherwise.
SYMPTOMS OF A BUNION MAY INCLUDE:
- Pain or soreness
- Inflammation and redness
- A burning sensation
- Possible numbness
Because they are bone deformities, bunions do not resolve by themselves. The goal for bunion treatment is two-fold: first, to relieve the pressure and pain caused by irritations, and second to stop any progressive growth of the enlargement.
COMMON CONSERVATIVE METHODS OF TREATMENT FOR BUNIONS:
- Protective padding, often made from felt material, to eliminate the friction against shoes and help alleviate inflammation and skin problems.
- Changing to carefully fitted footwear designed to accommodate the bunion and not contribute toward its growth.
- Orthotic devices—both over-the-counter and custom made—to help stabilize the joint and place the foot in the correct position for walking and standing.
- Exercises to maintain joint mobility and prevent stiffness or arthritis.
- Splints for nighttime wear to help the toes and joint align properly. This is often recommended for adolescents with bunions, because their bone development may still be adaptable
Some content provided by The ACFAS.