Bunions are a common problem among adults across all age groups. In fact, according to the Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy, more than 64 million people in the United States have this foot deformity.
A bunion develops when the bones that make up the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint move out of place, causing the joint to jut outward. The years of pressure on the MTP joint can cause it to become bigger and get inflamed, thus the bump, swelling, and redness on the skin over the area and limited mobility of the big toe.
While it’s not known what exactly causes bunions, scientists point out certain factors that can contribute to their development. These include rheumatoid arthritis, wearing ill-fitting shoes or high heels, and heredity.
If you’re living with a bunion that has become too bothersome or too painful to ignore, read on to learn about the treatment options available for it as well as when your podiatrist (foot doctor) might recommend surgery.
The goal of conservative intervention is not to reverse the bunion, but to help alleviate pain and prevent the bunion from getting worse. Your podiatrist may recommend any or some of the following strategies after a comprehensive assessment.
- Changing footwear- In the vast majority of cases, bunion pain can be effectively managed through switching to shoes that fit properly to avoid compression. Your podiatrist can recommend the right shoe type for you.
- Bunion pads and taping– Protective bunion-shield pads can help cushion the area over the bunion. In addition, your podiatrist may recommend that you use a medical tape to hold your foot in the correct position.
- Orthotics– Custom shoe inserts (orthotics) are the mainstay of conservative treatment for bunions. They can effectively take pressure off your bunion and improve your balance by dispersing pressure evenly across your foot.
- Pain relievers- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help control the discomfort and swelling associated with a bunion.
- Injections- Steroid injections may be recommended if oral pain medications fail to provide adequate relief.
If a lengthy course of conservative treatment has failed to ease your pain, or your bunion has significantly affected your gait or your overall quality of life, your podiatrist may recommend surgery.
There are a number of different types of bunionectomy (i.e., osteotomy, arthrodesis, exostectomy, etc.). The specific type your podiatrist will recommend will depend on the degree of deformity, your age, your doctor’s preferred technique, among other factors. Your podiatrist will discuss your options with you once they’ve confirmed that you’re a candidate for bunion surgery.
Bunion Treatment in South Texas
For first-rate bunion treatment in South Texas, visit us here at The Podiatry Group of South Texas. Our board-certified podiatrists offer a vast array of treatments not only for bunions but for many other foot and ankle problems. You can trust on our expertise and clinical acumen to lead you to the best possible treatment outcome.
To schedule an appointment, call our clinic near you, or complete our online request form. We look forward to serving you at one of our convenient locations: in San Antonio, Boerne, Floresville, Hondo, Kenedy, or Live Oak!