4 Tips For Managing And Treating Bunions

Bunions occur when the great toe deviates toward the second toe. This causes pain and inflammation at the base of the great toe and an increase in bone near the toe joint. There are both non-surgical and surgical methods available to reduce pain or potentially correct the deformity.

Start With The Underlying Cause

No matter which treatment you use to directly manage bunions, you need to address the underlying cause. Most cases of bunions are attributed to many years of wearing uncomfortable shoes that place significant pressure on the great toe. Although shoes with a narrow toe box do not always cause bunions, everyone's underlying foot structure is different and some people may experience significant deformities quicker than others. These shoes are usually women's dress shoes with a pointy toe, but high heels can further contribute to bunion development. High heels create an unnatural distribution of weight on the feet, causing you to walk with more pressure on the balls of your feet and toes.

Since shoes with a pointy toe are not designed to mimic the natural contours of the foot, they often squeeze the toes together. A related condition, tailor's bunion, can cause similar deformities of the fifth toe. The best way to prevent bunions is to avoid any shoes that cause compression or to stop wearing these shoes if problems have begun to occur. Less frequently, bunions can be caused by joint or connective-tissue disorders that contribute to arthritic changes at the base of the great toe or weak soft tissue structures. Unless the underlying disease process can be controlled, there is often little that can be done to prevent worsening of bunions.

Consider Retail Products

Several types of retail products are designed to provide comfort and support for bunions. One such product is a gel pad or sleeve that is placed over the base of the great toe to add cushion. These products can minimize the amount of friction between the base of your toe and the side of your shoes. Additionally, it may add cushion if you experience pain while walking. Another device you may want to consider is a toe separator. This is used to increase space between your great toe and second toe. Toe separators may be more useful in the early stages of bunion development. As the condition progresses, the deformity is more fixed and it may be more painful to try and force the toe into its original position.

Visit A Podiatrist

Even in the early stages of bunions, speaking with a podiatrist can be useful to address the specific structure of your foot and how your lifestyle may affect the progression of bunions. For some people, simple lifestyle modifications and retail products may be inadequate for managing their bunions. If you have a demanding job that requires significant amounts of standing and walking, you may need special shoes and/or orthotics that address your unique foot issues. You may need new orthotics and shoes regularly if your deformity progresses rapidly.

Weigh The Benefits Of Surgery

Surgery is usually reserved for people who have managed their bunions for several years with conservative treatments, but are finding these methods are no longer effective. Since bunions can cause significant pain and limitations, an orthopedic surgeon may need to evaluate your case to determine if surgery is appropriate. If you have an underlying connective tissue disease, the decision to have surgery can be significant. Since correcting bunions may require removing the additional bone that has formed and fusing the joint to make the toe straight, you must weigh the risk of the bone not fusing correctly due to the underlying disease.

Although bunions are a common foot ailment, many people are able to manage them without surgery. For severe bunions, there are various surgical approaches to help decrease pain and improve functionality. For more information and advice, consult a bunion surgery doctor.