What You Need To Know About Bunions

A bunion is a common foot condition. If left untreated, it can affect mobility and lead to severe complications. Here is the lowdown on some of the little-known facts about a bunion.

What Is a Bunion?

A bunion is characterized by a bump that develops over a bulge below your big toe. In many cases, the big toe joint gets enlarged and develops degenerative arthritis. The big toe also tends to incline towards the second toe.

Bunions can also affect the little toe instead of the big one. These types of bunions are called bunionettes. This condition is painful, especially if you wear stiff shoes that apply pressure on the bump.

What Causes a Bunion?

Bunions are inherited. However, they also occur because of a person's lifestyle. For example, people accustomed to wearing high heels or shoes that are too pointed or narrow have a high risk of developing bunions.

Another risk factor is overpronation. This is when you have an uneven weight-bearing in your foot and tendon. In such cases, your toe joint tends to be unstable. People who have arthritis are also prone to developing this condition.

How Is a Bunion Diagnosed?

To diagnose a bunion, the doctor will first ask you about the types of shoes you wear. They will also inquire whether there is anyone in your family suffering from bunions or if you had a previous foot injury. However, in many cases, the doctor will diagnose a bunion by looking at your foot.

During the examination, they will ask you to move your big toe up and down to determine whether it is moving as much as it is supposed to. Your podiatrist may also take X-rays of your foot to determine whether there are other causes of pain, such as misaligned bones or arthritis. 

How Is a Bunion Treated?

A bunion can be relieved through conservative treatment or surgery. For conservative bunion treatment, the foot doctor will ask you to change your shoes and recommend padding and shoe inserts. Your podiatrist may also recommend medication for the pain, such as cortisone injections, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or naproxen sodium.

If these treatments do not work, your podiatrist will perform surgery. There are many surgical procedures that your podiatrist can perform. These treatments may involve straightening the toe by taking out part of the bone, removing the swollen tissue surrounding the big toe joint, and realigning the bones in the forefoot. The doctor may also join the bones of the affected joint permanently.

To learn more about bunion treatment, contact a local podiatrist.