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When it comes to this foot condition, there's more to it than meets the eye. The development of an unusual bump near your big toe is only the beginning--a bunion affects the entire bone structure.

What Is A Bunion?

If you have an unnaturally large bump protruding from the joint of your big toe, you should suspect this condition that develops over time. What begins as a small bump eventually causes the big toe to bend toward the other toes. As this deformity worsens, the bone of the big toe pushes outward and a bunion is born.

What Are The Causes?

This condition develops with age. It may begin during early adulthood and if left untreated will worsen as the years pass. Bunions may run in your family, stem from arthritis, result from a weak or poor foot structure, or in some cases they form due to discrepancies in leg length.

These painful bumps are most commonly found in the feet of women. Years of wearing tight, ill-fitting, high-heeled, and pointed toe shoes make their feet prone to bunions. The shape of these shoes cause foot bones to take on unnatural curves. Individuals with flat feet are also more likely to develop this common deformity.

Symptoms

In its early stages, individuals with a bunion do not display noticeable symptoms. As the condition worsens, physical discomfort and pain is experienced. The area surrounding the big toe and ball of the foot will be extremely tender, red, and swollen. A burning sensation may occur and there is the possibility of numbness. Due to these factors, walking will become difficult. Hardened skin or callouses over the bump are not uncommon.

Treatments

Two key goals for bunion treatment include relief of pressure and pain and the stop of progressive growth. Upon examination, Dr. Schaengold will take x-trays to determine the severity of your bone deformity. After the extent of deformity is determined, he will prescribe the treatment that best suits you. 

Bunions can be treated by switching to proper fitting shoes that stabilize the joint and direct the foot into the correct position.  Mobility exercises are effective as well.  Orthopedic shoes and custom inserts will relieve the pressure placed upon the affected joint and stop potential growth. Protective padding can also alleviate inflammation.

Moderate structure deformities may require more help. Along with custom orthotics and exercises, prescription or over-the-counter medication will relieve the pain, swelling, and tenderness.

Severe bunions, depending on the size of the enlargement, misalignment of the toe, and amount of pain, may require surgery, or a bunionectomy. This type of surgery will correct the anatomical position of your bones. Bones, ligaments, tendons, and nerves will be directed to the correct positions and the bump will be removed. 

Let board certified foot surgeon and sports medicine specialist, Dr. Howard Schaengold, treat your bunion with the proper care. If you've developed an unusual bump near your great toe, make an appointment with our office in Sammamish, Washington. We serve several cities including Issaquah, Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland, North Bend, Carnation and Snoqualmie.  Call (425) 868-3338! You may also make an appointment online by visiting the appointment request tab above.  With the Plateau Foot and Ankle Clinic, your feet are in the right hands!