Beat Your Bunions with Early Care
Bunions are not life-threatening, but they can certainly impact your quality of life by making it difficult to do things that you normally would or enjoy doing. They can even have an effect on your choice of footwear. Women with this deformity may find it painful to wear narrow pumps with high heels. The good news is there are methods of treating them to get relief from the pain and irritation they can cause.
What is a Bunion?
This deformity is a painful swelling that occurs at the metatarsophalangeal joint—the one closest to the foot at the base of the big toe. It is caused when that toe is pushed against the next one, which makes the joint jut out and the big toe point in toward the others. Most shoes are not designed to accommodate this abnormal bump. The resulting pressure causes the bursa, which is a fluid-filled sac that protects the joint, to become inflamed. Eventually, the entire joint becomes stiff and painful.
There are various risk factors that can lead to a bunion forming on your foot. Ill-fitting shoes, especially ones that are too narrow in the toe box, can force your big toe to point inward for extended periods of time and may increase the risk. Arthritis pain might change the way you walk and could put you at risk of developing one. It is also possible to inherit a foot structure that causes the big toe to be pushed inward with each step.
How Do I Know if I Have a Bunion?
When you experience pain in the joint of your big toe and it has an unusual shape, especially if it bends in towards your other toes, it is likely that you have this condition. A bulging bump on the inner edge of your foot, swelling, and thickening of the skin at the base of the toe are all physical signs that indicate it as well. If you have doubts or are simply unsure, an X-ray will clearly show whether you have this abnormal joint or not.
There is treatment for bunions that you can handle yourself at home, but it is important to come in and see us at Kansas Foot Center if you have persistent pain, decreased mobility, or difficulty finding shoes that offer a proper fit on account of this condition. In some cases, surgery might be the best option for relieving bunion pain, but conservative treatment and management are also effective in many cases.
What are Conservative Treatment Options?
If the pain and irritation isn’t persistent and you catch it early, a change to comfortable footwear might suffice. A pair with a decent-sized toe box can provide the comfort and relief you need. We might recommend over-the-counter pain relievers (such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen) to deal with the discomfort, but heating pads and warm foot baths can also help. Padded shoe inserts assist with the distribution of pressure from your bodyweight and can keep stress off the joint.
If you come see us at Kansas Foot Center, we may advise the use of bunion pads, splints, or other shoe inserts to provide comfort. We may also prescribe orthotics or shoes with insoles and uppers that are designed to remove pressure from hot spots.
The best actions you can take to treat bunions are to be aware of your feet, wear comfortable shoes, and come in to see us early if you have any pain or irritation that you cannot manage on your own. Schedule an appointment with one of our offices in Wichita or Newton to see Dr. Thomas D. Truong for this or any other foot and ankle problems you might be experiencing. Call (866) 222-5177 to connect with our office today!