All About Bunions

All About Bunions

A bunion is an unnatural, bony hump that forms at the base of the big toe where it attaches to the foot. Often, the big toe deviates toward the other toes. When this occurs, the base of the big toe pushes outward on the first metatarsal bone, which is the bone directly behind the big toe forming a bunion. If this happens on the little toe and fifth metatarsal, it’s called a bunionette.

bunionBecause a bunion occurs at a joint, where the toe bends in normal walking, your entire body weight rests on the bunion at each step. Bunions can be extremely painful. They’re also vulnerable to excess pressure and friction from shoes and can lead to the development of calluses.

What Causes Bunions?

Foot problems typically develop in early adulthood and worsen as the foot spreads with aging. For many people, bunions run in the family. They may be just one of several problems due to weak or poor foot structure. Bunions sometimes develop with arthritis. In people with leg length discrepancies, bunions usually form in the longer leg.

Women are especially prone to developing bunions due to years of wearing tight, poorly fitting shoes especially high-heeled, pointed shoes can bring on bunions. Such shoes gradually push the foot bones into an unnatural shape.

Approaches to relieve pain

Luckily, these seven approaches may relieve the pain and pressure on the toe joint:

  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Protect the bunion with a moleskin or gel-filled pad, which you can buy at a drugstore.
  • Use shoe inserts to help position the foot correctly. These can be over-the-counter arch supports or prescription orthotic devices.
  • Under a doctor’s guidance, wear a splint at night to hold the toe straight and ease discomfort.
  • Take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen.
  • Use warm soaks, ice packs, and massages.
  • Buy well-fitting footwear that are wide in the toe area. Shop at a store where the staff measures your foot and can fit you with an appropriate shoe.

 

bunion splintBunions can also be treated by stretching the feet to realign the toes or using devices such as toe spacers or bunion splints, but often when you take these off, the benefit is gone.

When is it time for surgery

If your bunion has been causing pain for at least a year, it may be time to visit a podiatrist who can recommend surgery. If bunions aren’t treated they can result in other painful foot problems, such as hammertoes.

If you need further help treating bunions contact Houston Foot and Ankle. Dr. Donald Stran is a Podiatrist serving the Houston and Friendswood areas. To learn more about the procedures treated at Houston Foot and Ankle or to schedule an appointment please call any of our locations listed below.

Friendswood: (281) 992-0006
Missouri City: (281) 741-3017
Lake Jackson: (979) 297-8500

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Donald Stran
info@houston-footandankle.com

Dr. Donald C. Stran has practiced in the community since 1987. He is Board Certified and is a Fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgery. He is currently a teaching physician with the St. Joseph’s Medical Center podiatric residency program.



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