Posts for tag: Bunions
A bunion is one of the most common foot deformities, often affecting the joint at the base of the big toe. Anyone can develop this painful condition but it most often occurs in women. A bunion affects the structure of the foot, causing the joint to become enlarged, which causes the big toe to lean inward towards the other toes. In some cases, the big toe even overlaps the toes. This deformed joint may often become red or swollen, especially when wearing certain shoes or after certain physical activities.
A bunion is a gradual deformity, which means that as soon as you begin to notice changes in the joint or you start to experience symptoms you should consult a podiatrist. While the only way to correct the deformity is through surgery this is usually the last treatment option. After all, a foot doctor can often create a treatment plan that will reduce pain and prevent the deformity from progressing without needing to turn to surgery.
The first course of treatment is usually more conservative. You may be able to manage your bunion pain and swelling by:
- Taking over-the-counter NSAIDs
- Icing the bunion for up to 15 minutes at a time, 2-3 times a day
- Placing orthotics into your shoes to alleviate pressure on the joint (talk to your podiatrist about creating custom orthotics)
- Splinting or taping the foot to improve the structural alignment
- Wearing appropriate and supportive footwear that doesn’t put pressure on the toes or bunion
- Applying a bunion pad over the area to prevent a callus from forming while wearing shoes
- Avoiding certain activities and sports that could exacerbate your condition
For many people, these lifestyle changes and simple at-home treatment options are all that’s needed to reduce bunion pain and discomfort, and to prevent the problem from getting worse. Of course, if you find that at-home care isn’t providing you with relief, or if bunion pain is persistent or severe, then you should turn to a podiatrist for an evaluation. Not sure if you have a bunion or not? Call your foot doctor.
When should someone consider bunion surgery?
As we mentioned earlier, bunion surgery is considered a last resort when all other treatment options have been exhausted and they haven’t helped get your bunion symptoms under control. You may also want to consider getting bunion surgery if:
- Your bunion is large and makes it difficult to wear shoes
- Your bunion pain is severe and chronic
- You have trouble walking or moving around because of your bunion
- Your bunion is affecting your quality of life
It can take up to 6 months to fully recover from traditional bunion surgery so it’s important to discuss all of your treatment options with your podiatrist to find the most effective method for getting your bunion symptoms under control.
What is a Bunion?
What Causes Bunions?
How a Podiatrist Can Help
Prevention is Key
A bunion is an abnormal, bony prominence that develops on the joint at the base of your big toe. As the big toe joint becomes enlarged, it forces the toe to crowd against your other toes, and the pressure exerted on your big toe joint results in inflammation and pain. Early treatment is necessary to decrease the risk of developing joint deformities.
Bunions develop due to prolonged abnormal pressure or motion on your big toe joint, most often caused by inherited structural defects, poor-fitting shoes, foot injuries, or congenital deformities. Women are generally more prone to bunions because of the shoe types typically worn, such as high-heels and narrow-toed shoes.
Bunion pain can range from mild to severe, often making it difficult to wear shoes and perform normal activities. You should contact our office if you notice the following symptoms:
- An enlarged, visible bulge on your big toe joint
- Restricted movement of your big toe or foot that prevents you from performing normal activities
- Irritation, corns or calluses caused by the overlap of the first and second toes
- Frequent pain, swelling or redness around your big toe joint
Treatment For a Bunion
Treatment for a bunion will vary depending on its severity. Identifying the condition in its early stages is important to avoid surgery, with the main objective of early treatment being to relieve pressure and stop the progression of the deformity. Many times conservative treatments, such as padding, modified footwear or orthotic devices can be highly effective for preventing further growth and reducing the pressure and pain.
We recommend the following for reducing pressure and pain caused by bunions:
- Wear comfortable shoes that don't cramp or irritate your toes and avoid high-heeled shoes
- Apply ice to reduce inflammation and pain
- Our podiatrists can show you how to apply padding to your foot to place it in its normal position and reduce stress on the bunion
When early treatments fail or the persistent pain associated with your bunion is interfering with your daily activities, a surgical procedure may be recommended as a last resort to realign the toe joint and alleviate the pressure. We can advise you on the best treatment options available to relieve pressure on the bunion and slow the progression of the joint deformity.
Is this the weekend you’re heading up to the Summit at Snoqualmie for a super time on the slopes? With four great areas and a few of the steepest runs in the area, plus a great network of cross country trails, it’s a paradise for skiers. Don’t let poorly fitted ski boots ruin the day! When toes are cramped, the nerves can be affected, and athletes with neuromas know how painful they can be.
Pressure on the toes can damage the nerves, and the tissue around them can swell up and become inflamed. Conditions like bunions and arch problems contribute to the pressure, as well as tight shoes or sports activities that give your feet a pounding. You may not feel pain at first, only a thick feeling—usually behind the third and fourth toes—or a sensation of a stone or bunched up sock under the ball of your foot. Eventually, though, the problem may increase until every step sends a shot of pain into your foot, or make your toes tingle or feel numb.
Athletes, especially those who ski, should be very careful when choosing shoes or boots. They need to be roomy enough for your cushioned socks and allow your toes to wiggle freely, while still fitting snugly enough to give support for your activity. If you notice tingly or numb toes, maybe it’s time to take a break from that activity and give your nerves a rest.
If the ball of your foot is painful, have it checked out at The Plateau Foot & Ankle Clinic. Dr. Howard Schaengold specializes in sports injuries and can help you get to the root of your discomfort. Conservative treatments often do a great deal to relieve your foot problem. For expert foot care in the Sammamish, Snoqualmie, Redmond, or Bellevue, WA area, give us a call at (425) 868-3338, and we’ll help you get back on the slopes without pain.
It seems NBA star LeBron James can’t go anywhere without someone taking a picture, and each one is subject to scrutiny from head to toe. So when he was snapped barefoot on a dock, columnist Matt King had a go at his “seriously messed up toes.” King seemed to think James’ overlapping toes were due to an injury, but the truth is many toe deformities are inherited.
In some people, a pinky or middle toe curls up and over another toe, and usually the condition is genetic. True, sometimes other causes like high arches or flat feet can cause a child to put weight on the foot in a different way, misplacing the pinky toe up over the next one. In adults, tight shoes that pinch the toes can cause them to move out of position. With bunions, for example, the big toe can move so far toward the second one that it overlaps it, or pushes one of the other toes out of position.
Toe deformities like these can cause pain when they rub against your shoes or each other. The irritation during movement may also bring about calluses, corns, or blisters. The abnormalities alter the way you walk or run, and even affect the bone structure in your feet. Athletes who place a lot of stress on their lower extremities may experience more severe symptoms than less active people.
What can you do for overlapping toes? Accommodate them, for a start. Make sure your shoes have enough room for the toe and don’t rub against it. Have Dr. Howard Schaengold at The Plateau Foot & Ankle Clinic take a look at them. He can recommend gel pads, taping, or toe straighteners to cushion and keep the toe in place. Taping may be helpful in infants to correct the deformity as much as possible while their bones form, although the toe may never be completely normal.
Foot deformities are one of our specialties, so call us at (425) 868-3338 for all your podiatric needs. Whether you live in Sammamish, Redmond, Issaquah or Bellevue, you can find great foot care with us!