Bunions are those ugly bumps at the base of the big toes most commonly caused by ill-fitting shoes. Aside from being aesthetically undesirable, bunions can be quite painful.
Who Gets Bunions And How Do You Get Them?
Women are more likely to suffer from bunions than men because of all those sexy high heels and restrictive shoes.
A bunion is an actual bone deformity that occurs when your big toe pushes against the other toes, forcing the base or joint of the big toe to protrude outward.
Bunions can occur on your little toes too; these are often called bunionettes (the name is the only thing cute about them). Bunionettes develop on the joints of your pinky toes when they are pushed against your other toes.
Wearing high heels, pointed shoes or shoes that are too narrow are the most common cause of bunions, but they can also be hereditary and/or exacerbated by arthritis.
In addition to the structural defect, the skin over the bunion can also become red, swollen, and sore. In severe cases, normal activities like walking, running, jumping or exercising can become painful.
Symptoms of Bunions
There are several symptoms associated with this type of bone deformity including:
- Callous or hardened skin over the bunion
- Corns caused by the overlap of the first and second toes
- Difficulty or pain while walking
- Irritation, swelling, redness at the bunion site
- Persistent toe pain
- Protruding bone at the base of your big toe
- Restricted motion of the big toe
- Tenderness to the touch
The best thing you can do to prevent bunions is a wear shoe with low heels and wider widths. Wearing the right shoes will keep your feet happy and healthy.
Common Bunion Treatments
- Bunion surgery
- Cortisone injections
- Ice pack
- Pain relievers
- Topical cortisone cream or pain relievers
- Yoga Toes
Bunions tend to get bigger and more painful if left untreated. Surgery should only be considered as a last resort if other treatments have failed to relieve or control your pain. Surgery is not recommended strictly for aesthetic reasons.
Surgery typically involves an incision near the big toe and removal or realignment of the bone. There are several methods of bunion surgery. They type of surgery depends on the severity of the bunion and joint damage. The most common surgical procedures include:
- Tendon and ligament repair
- Trimming the protruding part of the bone
- Cutting and realigning the deformed bone
- Artificial joint replacement
- Fusion of the big toe or joint
Bunion Surgery Recovery
Recovery varies from person-to-person, depending on the type of surgery and how well you follow post-operative instructions. It may be several weeks before you can walk without a surgical boot, cast, or special shoes.
In some cases, it could be months before you can wear regular shoes again.
Physical therapy may also be needed to help the foot regain its strength and mobility.
Your Podiatrist will conduct a physical examination and take x-rays to determine the severity of your condition and the best course of action.
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