The Truth About Bunions

A bunion is an enlargement of the the joint at the base of the big toe. This is caused by pressure on the big toe joint, causing the big toe to bend towards the second toe, gradually resulting in a change in the bone structure. The skin around the joint becomes sore and painful, and can develop into persistent pain. Bunions can cause numbness and/or throbbing pain. Bunions can gradually increase in pain and worsen over time. If the bunion is mild, wider shoes can help alleviate the pain. Orthotics can also help slow the progression of the bunion especially if one has flat feet.

Can walking or running make the bunions worse? It can, especially if one over pronates, meaning that their feet tend to “roll in”. This is how orthotics can help. They help to keep the feet “aligned” and can slow the progression of the bunion. Bunions can also cause foot pain because they can cause you to walk differently to compensate for the pain. Many times bunions are also seen with other deformities such as hammertoes and calluses/corns. Bunions can also cause hammertoes, the big toe moves towards the 2nd toe and pushes against it causing the toe to “hammer”. It’s important to know that bunions cannot go away without surgery. The bone has actually shifted and is moving outward to form that bump we all see. Sometimes people can use special bunions pads or cushions to help alleviate the pain but it cannot “eliminate” the bunion.

Risk Factors for Bunions:

•    Wearing high heels or ill-fitting shoes: if the heels and shoes are too small, this causes pressure on the toe.

•    Flat feet:  if one has flat feet or your feet roll in, then it causes an imbalance of the tendons in your foot causing the bunion to form.

•    Heredity: if a parent or family member has bunions, chances are you will to.

Conservative treatments for bunions include wearing wider shoes that provide more room for the toes; padding or taping the foot into a normal position; or cortisone injections to control bunion pain.

Surgical options can remove the swollen tissue around the affected area, straighten the toe, realign the bone, or permanently join the bones of the affected joints. Dr. Parikh uses a minimal incision technique which uses small incisions and no screws or pins to correct the bunion. This means less pain, no ugly scar and a faster recovery. Make an appointment today and have Dr. Parikh answer your questions and concerns.