Bunions: A Bump on the Side of the Foot
What is a Bunion?
A bunion is very simply a bump on the side of your toe. It forms when the toes are pushed together, forcing the big toe joint to jut out to the side instead of lie straight. Similarly, when this condition occurs on the small toe it is called a bunionette. The bump may be red and sore, but this is not always the case. There may also be thickened skin at the base of the big toe, or sometimes even calluses and corns may begin to form from the friction from shoes or other toes. You may find that it is difficult to walk without pain, especially in pointed shoes. Additionally, you may discover that you cannot fit your fit into certain shoes because of the deformity.
Causes of Bunions
There are different causes of bunions. Some people believe that wearing shoes that are too tight in the toe area, or wearing high heels can cause a bunion to form. This is unclear, as the shoes may merely aggravate the bunion, or contribute to the formation in a foot that is already predisposed to develop a bunion, rather than cause a bunion to form. Some direct causes may include genetics, trauma or injury to the foot, certain diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, and other congenital deformities that may be present at birth, such as flatfeet or very high arches.
Treatment for Bunions
Most people find that they can get relief from bunions without surgical intervention. We will always go with conservative methods first. One of the best ways to treat a bunion is to avoid them to begin with. Wear shoes that fit your feet comfortably and do not have a tight front section that forces your toes to cram together. Instead, wear shoes with wider insteps, a broad toe box with plenty of wiggle room, and soft cushioning. If you already have a bunion this is even more important, since you want to keep as much pressure off the bunion as possible. Cushioned pads are another great way to protect that bump on the side of the foot from excessive strain. There are also certain stretches you can do to keep your feet and legs in better alignment. If you have exhausted all conservative treatment options and your bunion is causing you a lot of pain, you might need to consider surgery. This involves realigning the tendons, ligaments, and bones in your feet so the big toe can return to its normal position.
Getting Medical Help
If you would like more information on bunion treatment call Dr. Mitchell Wachtel, podiatrist North Andover, at (978) 794-8406 to schedule an appointment in one of our three Massachusetts offices: North Andover, Lowell, or Haverhill.