Sometimes a bone spur isn’t the only bony bump your foot can grow. A bunion is another type of bony growth that can form on the joint located at the base of the big toe. Bunions can develop for various reasons, but the most common cause is related to wearing shoes that are too small or too tight to the feet. Bunions can also result from injury or stress of the foot, or from some other medical condition.
A bunion occurs when the big toe joint enlarges and forces the toe to push against the rest of the toes. The enlargement puts pressure on the big toe joint and pushes it outward beyond the limits of your foots natural shape. In addition to the big toe joint, bunions may also form on the joint of your baby toe which are known as “bunionettes”. Despite the area where a bunion may occur, bunions are quite painful.
If you think you may have a bunion, here are common signs and symptoms you can watch for:
• A bulging bump on the inside joint at the base of the big toe
• Thick skin at the base of the big toe
• Calluses or corns that resulted from the first and second toe overlapping
• Frequent or irregular pain
• Restricted motion of the big toe
Pain that results from a bunion may be mild or severe, and it is often difficult for affected individuals to walk in regular shoes. This is because the area that surrounds the bunion is also often inflamed and swollen. If left untreated, a bunion can also affect the other toes and cause the smaller ones to become claw-like, and calluses may form on the bottom of the foot. Without proper treatment, bunions can interfere with normal activities, can become larger, and require surgical treatment.
The method in which bunions are treated depend on the severity of the condition, and how early it is diagnosed. Therefore, as soon as you see signs or symptoms, visit your doctor so you can be treated and cut your risk of developing joint deformities.
The following are common treatments:
• Comfortable shoes – wear shoes that are not only made to fit your feet, but also provide your toes with plenty of space to move about.
• Pad and tape your foot – To help minimize pain you can pad a bunion. Your doctor can recommend pads and even help you tape and pad your foot in a natural position to help decrease the stress on the bunion and alleviate pain.
• Medication – Your doctor may recommend painkillers and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen to reduce inflammation.
• Physical therapy – whirlpool baths, ultrasound therapy and other forms of physical therapy can help relieve inflammation and pain of a bunion.
• Orthotics – A padded shoe insert known as an orthotic can help your foot achieve normal movement and can reduce the symptoms caused by a bunion. Orthotics can also prevent a bunion from becoming larger.
Surgery is usually the last treatment option recommended for bunion sufferers. Although there are different types of surgeries, the most common is a bunionectomy. This involves the removing of swollen tissue around the joint of the big toe; straightening the big toe by removing a portion of the bone; and permanently connecting the bones of the affected joint.
If you have a bunion, your best option is to talk to your doctor about effective treatments, and avoid further aggravating your bunion by giving your toes the freedom to move.
By Dave Wilson. Sign up for a free newsletter & discover how to treat your footpain with natural cures for footpain. Discover how to relieve the pain of bunions.