With the multitude of people out there suffering with bunions, you can surely bet that there’s also a flurry of different treatments, prevention methods, and all-around advice on how to get rid of this problem. At Sierra Foot & Ankle, we can set you up with the best care to help your pain.
What is a Bunion?
A bunion is a bony bump that’s formed at the big toe joint where it connects to the first metatarsal bone. This deformity happens when your big toe points toward your second toe, which pushes on the first metatarsal bone and makes it form an extra bony bump—that’s what you see sticking out on the side of your inner foot. You might also notice calluses on your first and second toes and on the bump caused by excess pressure and friction from your shoes. The joint may appear swollen or red.
Along with the visible signs, you may also feel a lot of pain at the joint, since it has to bend and support your entire body weight every time you take a step. You also may have some soreness and difficulty moving the toe.
Many Causes of Bumps
An uneven pressure on the areas of your foot is what causes a bunion. Now, this “uneven pressure” can come from a number of things. Your foot structure—flat, normal, or high arches—passed down by your parents can greatly influence whether or not you will develop this problem. These different arch types can place stress in the wrong areas of the foot and can create deformities if they aren’t accommodated or corrected with a good pair of shoes or a custom orthotic.
Speaking of shoes, these can also influence the creation of a bony bump. Doctors tend to disagree on whether the shoes actually cause the bump or just contribute to the development. Regardless, they sure don’t help! High heels, narrow-toed dress shoes, and tight footwear can squeeze the toes together, which causes that bony joint to stick out.
You could also be at risk of developing bunions if you have arthritis, specifically rheumatoid arthritis. Foot injuries and congenital deformities may cause this condition too.
When Should You Call the Doctor?
Pain is the biggest deciding factor in getting help for this problem. Some people wait until the pain starts interfering with daily activities. However, why test your limits? Treating a bunion at the first sign of pain may be more cost-effective, since the treatment may be less involved, and will keep you active throughout your recovery. It’s also important to note that the size of your bunion doesn’t determine how much pain you have. You could have a smaller bump that’s much more painful than someone who possesses a larger big toe joint deformity.
While some bunions tend to get bigger, some may never grow in size. You can limit the progression of your bunion by wearing smarter shoes—this means no pointy-toed footwear or heels over 2 inches. Arch supports, bunion padding, toe splints, and a pair of custom orthotics could keep your problem from growing worse, too.
However, some people are just destined to develop discomfort from bunions. If you have pain, don’t ignore it. Make an appointment with Victoria L. Melhuish, DPM, at Sierra Foot & Ankle by calling (775) 783-8037. Our office in Carson City, NV, can be found on Facebook, too. Be sure to “like” us to get updated foot care information!
Photo credit: rimkaitis via freeimages.com