If you’ve ever looked down at your feet and noticed either a large bump on the inner edge of the foot or your big toe angling inward toward the smaller toes, you are observing the telltale signs of a bunion. This is actually a fairly common foot problem. It is also one we can treat for you at Sunshein Podiatry.
Bunion treatment is important not only for addressing current symptoms and issues, but also for preventing the problem from increasing in severity. There are both conservative and surgical approaches, and your treatment plan will be created taking several factors into consideration. If it is possible, we will take every measure to avoid surgery.
In the event your bunion is causing severe pain or impairing your ability to perform routine activities and surgical correction is the best course of action, you can take comfort in the fact Dr. Kevin Sunshein has performed countless successful procedures for his patients.
What is a Bunion?
The first step in getting bunion treatment is being able to recognize one. Put simply, a bunion is a bony bump found at the base of the big toe, jutting out to the inside of the foot. The affected joint in this condition is the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint. In addition to being a great word to know for Scrabble, this particular joint is where the long metatarsal bone in the foot meets the proximal bone (phalange) in the toe.
A bunion develops when the big toe starts to angle inward, toward the smaller toes. On account of this abnormal angling, the MTP joint is pushed out of position, and this is the bony protrusion associated with the toe deformity.
With regard to visual signs and symptoms, the bunion itself tends to be most prominent. In addition to the abnormal bump, you may also observe redness, swelling, and callusing. The heightened risk of calluses is typically the result of friction from the bunion rubbing against the inside of a shoe. For this reason, individuals who develop bunions may need to switch footwear.
Beyond visual cues to a bunion’s presence, a bigger problem may be pain or discomfort. This can be particularly evident during physical activity. The MTP joint is important for enabling the foot to push off the ground with every step. A bunion can make this biomechanical process rather painful.
In addition to the traditional version, you can also develop a similar condition known as a bunionette, also known as a “tailor’s bunion.” The name may conjure up an image of a smaller bunion, which is true, but the main distinction is that a bunionette forms on the outside edge of your foot. This deformity happens at the MTP joint for your little toe, but is otherwise the same as its big brother on the inside edge.
How is a Bunion Treated?
Even if you are able to bear the pain from a bunion, you should still have it treated. Why? Because this kind of condition is progressive, which means it will worsen over time when left untreated.
Whereas the condition worsening is certainly a concern, another distinguishing factor in progressive conditions is the fact they cannot be completely corrected without surgical intervention. That said, we may be able to address symptoms and slow—or even halt—progression with conservative care. This is more realistic for a milder condition, and especially when the condition is caught at an earlier stage.
Conservative treatment options include:
- Splinting or padding and taping your foot into a natural position to alleviate pain and reduce stress on the bunion.
- Applying ice to a bunion after time spent on your feet can relieve inflammation, soreness, and decrease pain.
- Padded shoe inserts may be helpful in reducing symptoms, preventing the condition from worsening, and distributing pressure more evenly to reduce irritation.
- Changing footwear to comfortable, roomy models that offer ample space for your toes.
When conservative methods are insufficient, we may recommend surgery. This can entail removing swollen tissue, realigning your bones, or permanently joining your bones in the affected joint.
Contact Us Today for Professional Bunion Treatment!
Sunshein Podiatry is here to help you with any foot or ankle care—including bunion treatment—you may need. For more information on this topic, our practice, or to schedule an appointment, call (937) 435-7477. You can also connect with us right now by taking a moment to fill out our online contact form.