Bunions are a foot problem that many patients come to see us for at First Coast Foot and Ankle. Although often the butt of jokes, bunions are no laughing matter. They can be extremely painful and debilitating without proper care. Here’s what you need to know.
What Are Bunions?
The easily recognizable bump on the side of the big toe is really just the tip of the iceberg. That bump is caused by an enlarged joint at the base of the toe which occurs when the toe moves out of place and begins to drift toward the second toe. A faulty foot structure is a common reason for this deformity. Biomechanical defects are often passed down in a family. Other causes of bunions include:
- Wearing shoes that are too tight or narrow and squeeze the toes together
- Neuromuscular problems
- Flat feet
Should I See a Podiatrist?
Bunions are a progressive condition, meaning they will only get worse over time. In addition, bunions can lead to secondary podiatric problems such as painful corns and calluses and other deformities like hammertoe. For this reason, it is very important that you make an appointment at our Duval County office as soon as you think a bunion is forming. Our podiatrists Dr. Vimal A. Reddy and Dr. Jeffrey Brimmer will examine your feet and also get a medical history from you. The foot doctor may also order imaging studies like digital x-rays to see how far your bunion has progressed.
What’s the Treatment?
Bunions can only be corrected by surgery. However, there are a number of conservative treatments that podiatrists can use to relieve pain and slow the progression of the bunion. These include:
- Anti-inflammatory medication
- Removal of corns and calluses
- Carefully choosing footwear made of soft material with roomy toe boxes
- Custom orthotics
- Physical therapy and exercises
- Night splints to align toes
Like all progressive foot conditions, the sooner you get treatment the better the outcome. To learn more about bunion care, contact us.