You kick off your shoes at the end of a long day, sit down on the sofa, and rub your feet. You know thereâ€™s nothing you can do about the day-to-day stress on your feet, but is it normal to have so much pain in your big toe that you actually dread the thought of putting on shoes in the morning?
What Is a Bunion?
If you have redness and swelling in the joint of your big toe, it is possible that you have developed a bunion. A bunion is a bony lump that forms on the side of the big toe joint where the toe connects to the foot. As the bunion grows, it pushes the big toe inward toward the other toes, causing a deformity in the joint that becomes increasingly painful over time.
The most common causes of bunions include:
- Genetic factors. Bunions will often run in a patientâ€™s family due to hereditary problems in the foot structure.
- Tight shoes. Women are especially likely to develop bunions, as shoes with narrow toe boxes or that force the foot into a point can encourage misalignment of the big toe. High-heeled shoes increase the amount of weight placed in the toes, further increasing the risk of a bunion.
- Arthritis. Bunions are often found in patients with arthritis or people who have slight differences in leg length.
Will I Need Surgery to Correct a Painful Bunion?
While the solution for your bunion will depend on your symptoms, most methods are aimed at correcting the deformity and treating pain. In most cases, treatment for bunions will include:
- Conservative treatments. Many people suffer pain as their weight rests on the toe joint during walking, and some patients will develop calluses as their skin attempts to cope with friction from the bunion. Some of this pressure can be relieved by changing into shoes with wide toe boxes, placing cushioning pads over the bunion, or wearing shoes with custom insoles to straighten the toe.
- Pain relief. Over-the-counter pain medications are often recommended to relieve pain. Some podiatrists may offer injection of corticosteroids at the bunion site to reduce inflammation while orthotic treatments correct the deformity.
- Surgery. If orthotic correction is not successful, a patient may require bunion surgery. This procedure can involve removal of the bunion, but also surgical realignment of the bones and tendons to allow the big toe joint to bend and function normally.
At Advanced Foot & Ankle Wellness Center, podiatrist Dr. Melissa Wawrzynek can advise you on your treatment options and help you find lasting relief for your bunion pain. Fill out our quick contact form or call us today at (610) 822-3900 to make your first appointment.