Many people with bunions experience discomfort and pain from the constant irritation, rubbing, and friction of the enlargement against shoes. The skin over the toe normally turns red and tender. Since this joint flexes with every step a person takes, the bigger the bunion the more difficult walking can become. As time passes, arthritis or bursitis may develop and the skin on the sole of the foot may drastically thicken. When this happens the simple task of daily walking my become difficult, leading to chronic pain.
Bunions form when the toe moves out of place. The protuberances cause friction and pressure as they rub against footwear. Over time, the movement of the first toe directly in toward the second toe, sometimes overlapping is known as Hallux Valgus. The growing enlargement or protuberance then causes added inflammation or irritation. In some cases, the big toe moves inward, toward the second toe and rotates or twists, a process called Hallus Abducto Valgus. Bunions can also lead to hammertoe and other toe deformities.
Because they are bone deformities bunions require intervention in order for them to be resolved. Treatment goals for bunions consist of two distinct steps. The first is to relieve pain and pressure caused by irritation. The second step is to prevent progressive growth of the enlargement. Methods that are commonly used to reduce the symptoms include:
- The use of protective padding to eliminate the friction against shoes and alleviate inflammation and skin problems.
- Removal of calluses and corns from the foot.
- Changing to footwear designed to accommodate the bunion and not contribute toward its progressive growth.
- Orthotic devices — both over-the-counter and custom made — to help with joint stabilization.
- Exercises to enhance joint mobility and prevent arthritis and stiffness.
Depending on the size of the enlargement, misalignment of the toe, and pain experienced, conservative treatments may not be adequate to prevent progressive damage from bunions. In these cases, bunion surgery, known as a bunionectomy, may be advised to remove the bunion and promote normal healing.
At East Ocean Podiatry, we pride ourselves on providing the best possible care for treating painful bunions. With our dedicated, cutting-edge approach to treatment, we aim to reduce the time needed for recovery and get you back on your feet as soon as possible.