The Lowdown on Bunions
First, six quick facts about bunions:
- They are toe deformities that make your feet look a little strange.
- They are often genetic, passed down through the basic foot structure.
- They can be made worse by wearing the wrong shoes.
- They can be quite painful.
- They don’t get better on their own.
- They are only corrected through surgery, though symptoms can be treated conservatively.
If that’s all you need to know, we’re glad we could help! If you’re the type who wants a few details behind the facts, read on.
What Bunions Look Like
If there is a bump sticking out along the inner edge of your foot, at the base of your big toe, it is likely due to this deformity. The joint has moved out of position, with the big toe bending in toward the smaller toes, and the foot bone attached to it jutting out away from the foot.
The bump may be red from pressing on your shoes, and the tissue around it could swell up. The worse the deformity, the more limited your range of motion in the toe may become. It could stiffen up, and gradually become quite painful.
Where They Come From
This is a little less clear. In fact, it is the subject of some debate in the podiatric community. Many now believe that they form due to genetic factors you inherit, like your foot shape, a longer second toe, the way you walk, and so on. However, the fact that they occur mostly in women and that the process is speeded up when you wear narrow or pointed shoes that pinch your toes together, still leads many to believe that footwear—especially high heels that force you to walk differently—plays a role in their formation as well.
What to Do about Them
Whether the shoes cause the problem or not, bunion pain can definitely be lessened if you opt for a pair with low heels and wide, rounded fronts that allow your toes to lie flat and straight. This can also reduce friction on the bump, and therefore the redness and swelling. Shoe choice is the first step in treating this condition.
The next thing you may want to do is call Dr. Jyotsna Thapar at Ankle and Foot Specialist of New Jersey. We can analyze the severity of your problem and design appropriate treatment for the stage you are in. In the early days, night splints, stretching, and shoe modifications may be quite effective at stalling the progression. We can also discuss whether you might benefit from a pair of custom orthotics that better aligns your foot as you walk. Then, too, there are pain medications to help with your discomfort.
These conservative treatments may be enough so that you can function normally without pain and keep the deformity from getting worse. If not, we can consider whether bunion surgery might be the right step for correcting them.
Bunion Care in Northern New Jersey
At Ankle and Foot Specialist of New Jersey, we treat all your foot problems, from funny, bent toes to heel pain. Contact our offices in South Plainfield/Edison or Warren by phone at 908-222-8980 or by filling out the contact form on our website. We look forward to helping straighten out your toes, so you can enjoy your life activities without pain.