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  • Finding Relief from a Common Foot Problem — Bunions

Published on August 25, 2021

Finding Relief from a Common Foot Problem — Bunions

Two feet with bunions.

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You’ve probably heard how bunions can become so painful they make walking unbearable but you may not know relief could be simpler than you thought.

“Even though bunions are very common, many people suffer needlessly from them for years before seeking treatment, and most treatments are nonsurgical,” said Danielle Thomas, MD, orthopedic specialist and surgeon affiliated with Cottage Health.

Bunions are caused when the joint at the base of the big toe is misaligned and causes a bony bump to bulge on the side of the foot, and the skin covering it can get sore and red. A bunion also causes the big toe to lean toward the next toe instead of pointing straight forward.

What causes them? Bunions can develop as the result of foot injuries, arthritis or the shape of your foot. The anatomy of the individual foot is often a hereditary factor. Although bunions themselves are not inherited, certain foot types can make a person more prone to them.

Symptoms include pain, inflammation, a burning sensation and sometimes even numbness. These symptoms can occur when standing frequently, and when wearing shoes with a tight toe or high heels. Women are more likely than men to develop bunions.

“Everything starts with conservative, nonsurgical treatment,” said Dr. Thomas. “This can include shoe modifications, orthotics and medication. If those fail, we progress to surgery, but that’s the last option.”

When it comes to diagnosis, bunions are visible at the base of the big toe or side of the foot. However, x-rays may be needed to evaluate the condition and develop an individualized treatment plan. It’s important to seek treatment as early as possible, because bunions won’t go away, and they can worsen over time.

“If nonsurgical treatments aren’t relieving the pain, then it may be time to consider surgery,” said Dr. Thomas. “A variety of procedures is available to correct the foot’s bone structure and soft tissue alignment and reduce pain.”

If you’re suffering from foot pain due to bunions, the good news is there are options to relieve the pain and get you back on your feet.

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