A bunion is a bony lump at the base of your big toe. Bunions are a common type of foot deformity, and nearly one in three adults over age 65 has one.
Bunions develop over time, often getting worse over the years. They can be caused by genetic predisposition and pressure from your big toe pressing into your other toes. Pain and swelling are common symptoms of bunions, and having one can keep you from living an active life.
A bunion won’t go away on its own, but the good news is that it can be treated. Bryon Butts, DPM, and our team at Performance Footcare PC specialize in bunion care, including both nonsurgical and surgical options.
Nonsurgical treatment for bunions
Bunions start small. If you notice a bunion forming, make an appointment with your podiatrist. Dr. Butts offers comprehensive evaluations to diagnose the severity of your bunions. For mild to moderate bunions, he may recommend a number of conservative treatments for bunions.
Much of the pain that bunions cause is linked to inflammation. A bunion may make your toe swell, which makes standing and walking uncomfortable. Dr. Butts may recommend oral anti-inflammatory medication or corticosteroid injections in your toe joint to reduce inflammation and quell the pain.
Poorly-fitted shoes are one of the main causes of bunions. Tight shoes and high heels force your toes together and the pressure makes the joint of your big toe swell over time. Choosing well-fitting shoes to prevent bunions or keep existing bunions from getting worse.
Look for shoes with wide-toe boxes and low heels. Wide toe boxes give your toes room to move, and shoes with extra cushioning can take the stress from the joints in your feet.
Bracing and cushioning
If you have a painful bunion, wearing shoes can exacerbate your symptoms. Bracing and cushioning your bunions can take pressure off tender joints to make your feet more comfortable. There are a variety of over-the-counter products available for cushioning and padding bunions, and Dr. Butts can help you find the right solution for your feet.
Orthotics are specialized shoe inserts that align your feet and distribute your body weight. Orthotics take bracing and cushioning a step further, and they can be very effective in relieving bunion pain.
Dr. Butts might recommend custom orthotics for people with severe bunions, but they can also help prevent milder bunions and other foot problems from getting worse.
Swollen, painful bunions can make your toe joints stiff. This stiffness can reduce your range of motion and make your feet hurt more, but physical therapy can restore joint flexibility. Dr. Butts may give you at-home exercises to stretch your feet and build strength to reduce discomfort.
Correcting bunions with surgery
While many people find that conservative care makes a difference for their bunion pain, surgery may be necessary in some cases. Dr. Butts could recommend surgery if nonsurgical treatments aren’t effective or your bunions are causing significant pain.
Dr. Butts performs minimally invasive surgery for bunion correction. He removes the bunion and damaged tissue around it. Then, he realigns your toe joint.
Full recovery from bunion surgery may take six months, but it’s a lasting solution for severe bunion pain. With minimally invasive techniques at Performance Footcare PC, many of our patients return to wearing shoes in as little as three weeks following bunion surgery.
Don’t let bunion pain limit your life. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Butts to find a bunion treatment plan that’s right for you. Call the office nearest you or request an appointment online now.