Bunions: What’s that Bump on My Toe?
Have you noticed that your big toe doesn’t look the same as it used to? If the tip is bent toward your second toe and it bumps out at the base, chances are you have developed a bunion. This condition is very common, but more prevalent with women than with men because of shoe styles that crowd the toes. Other causes can be your gait (ankles rolling inward), having arthritis or flat feet, or even having a family history of this type of deformity. Bunions may be minor, with no pain or noticeable effects on your life-style, or severe enough to place limitations on your activities. Whatever your situation, the podiatrists at Aadvanced Foot Care Associates stand ready to help you deal with it.
(By the way, if the bump is on your little toe instead, you may have a bunionette. Same general problem, but in a smaller package.)
How Do Bunions Form?
Your toes react to the pressure applied to them. Whether it’s too-tight or high-heeled shoes that crowd the big toe toward the other toes and change their alignment, or over-pronation that affects how your toes push off when walking, running, or jumping, repeated pressures like these can cause bunions to form. You may not see any symptoms at first, but later you may notice redness or swelling at the base of your toe when you take off your shoes, and you may experience pain in the joint or toe.
While bunions are most frequently seen in adults (and especially adult women), children can develop bunions as well.
If the pain persists or becomes more severe, you will want your podiatrist to take a look at it. He will ask questions about your symptoms, examine your foot and test its range of motion, and possibly use x-rays or blood tests to confirm the diagnosis or rule out other conditions. He can then recommend the best course of treatment to relieve your discomfort.
Many forms of treatment are things you can do yourself, such as choosing shoes wisely, icing to reduce pain and swelling, or using any pain relief methods your podiatrist recommends. He may show you how you can pad and/or tape your foot to align it more normally. If warranted, he may prescribe orthotics – special shoe inserts designed for your particular foot problems. These can help correct your gait, thus relieving the pressure on your toes that is aggravating the problem.
If all home-care problems fail to resolve your issues, your foot specialist may recommend surgery to remove swollen tissue, straighten the toe and re-align the bones, and fuse the joint into the correct position. Depending on the surgery, some patients can walk on the foot immediately, and others can take 6 – 8 weeks to completely heal. This can be a big issue if you can’t put your life on hold for that amount of time, so it’s best to do whatever you can to prevent these deformities in the first place.
#1 Rule: Choose Good Shoes
Many times this condition could be avoided by choosing shoes with a wide-enough toe box and heels no higher than 2-1/4 inches. Give your toes room to move, and don’t cause extra downward pressure on the balls of your feet with extra-tall heels. Be kind to your feet!
If you are experiencing the pain and discomfort of a bunion, call the podiatrists at Aadvanced Foot Care Associates today. We have offices in Rego Park, Plainview, and Flushing for your convenience, and you can request an appointment online. Your feet deserve to be pain-free – let us help you!