Most people may think of a bunion as being a mere bump on the side of the foot near the big toe. But bunions go deeper than what we may see – a bunion actually reflects a change over time in the anatomy of the foot.
It starts out with the big toe pointing toward its neighboring toes, which gradually changes the actual alignment of the bones in the foot. So, essentially this condition is a partial dislocation of the great (big) toe at its base joint while, at the same time, the end of the first metatarsal at the base of the toe becomes more prominent, creating the protrusion on the inside of the foot.
This can cause extreme discomfort and potentially keep you from wearing your favorite pair of shoes. Over time, this gradual dislocation of the joint can also cause abnormal function as the toe goes one way and the first metatarsal goes the other.
Although ill-fitting footwear can be partly to blame, other factors like heredity, congenital abnormalities, injuries, arthritis, and other diseases can also play a big role in changing the biomechanics of your feet, which in turn causes your body’s weight to be unevenly distributed. As this excess pressure causes instability in the joint of the big toe, the toe consequentially shifts toward the other toes.
In extreme cases, large bunions may require surgery to be removed. That is why you should never ignore early signs of bunion development – though this condition cannot be wholly prevented, you can definitely prevent it from getting to the point where you will need surgery.
And, the good news is that here at Kalamazoo Podiatry we can help you overcome your bunion problems!
Why Do Bunions Happen?
Bunions don’t discriminate – anyone can develop this condition, though it is more common in women. If you have flat feet, you are also more likely to get bunions.
Here are some more risk factors you should keep in mind:
- If your foot mechanics function abnormally
- If you wear ill-fitting shoes.
- Your heritage.
- Your gender.
Most likely you will notice a growing bump long before you start experiencing any pain. However, ignoring changes in your feet is a big mistake – it is always easier to prevent a foot condition than to treat one.
So, instead of continuing with the same foot care habits, you should immediately address any symptoms you may start seeing or feeling. Which brings us to our next point!
What are the Symptoms?
While a bump on the side of your toe may be the most obvious indicator of a bunion, there are other signs you should look out for:
- Pain and tenderness.
- Redness and inflammation.
- A callus or corn on the bump.
- Hardened skin on the bottom of the foot.
- Stiffness and restricted motion in the big toe.
- Difficulty walking.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, there is no need to panic! We have some information on how you can prevent further inflammation and worsening pain.
How to Treat and Prevent Bunions?
Fortunately, there are some easy and effective changes that you can make in order to prevent your bunion from progressing. If you suspect you have developed this condition, then you should seek medical treatment before the situation gets worse – when bunions are treated from an early stage, it will be much easier to take the necessary treatment steps for both you and doctor.
The first thing you should do is schedule an evaluation with Dr. Terence Bredeweg here at Kalamazoo Podiatry to learn about your unique foot structure and the conservative treatments available that will slow the development of this condition.
Depending on what we find during our thorough examination of your feet, we may recommend one or more of the treatment methods below:
- Anti-inflammatory medications.
- Shoe modifications.
- Custom orthotics.
- Foot padding.
- Icing your foot.
Unfortunately, these methods will not permanently realign the joint as they don’t change the structure of your feet. But they can diminish and potentially altogether eliminate painful symptoms.
If your case is more severe, we may discuss and recommend surgical treatment. A wide variety of surgical procedures are available and will be selected based on the type and extent of the deformity.
Contact Us Today!
All in all, the best thing to do is to seek medical advice if you suspect you are developing a bunion. Here at Kalamazoo Podiatry we are equipped with the best tools available to assess your situation and address it appropriately so that you can go back to doing the things you love and wearing the shoes you like!
If you are ready to show that bunion who is boss just give us a call today at (269) 373-1019 or simply fill out our handy request form online.