The bony prominences at the side of your foot known as bunions can be both painful and unsightly, and often affect your ability to walk or wear shoes comfortably. The expert team of podiatrists at Kalmar Family Podiatry in Huntington, New York, has many years of experience treating painful bunions (hallux valgus) both conservatively and surgically. Bunions are one of the most common foot problem affecting about 30% of the adult population. Call Kalmar Family Podiatry today to find out more, or book an appointment online.
A bunion is a bony bump that protrudes from the inside of your foot by the base of your big toe. You probably notice it at first as a feeling of pressure when you’re wearing shoes, but as the bunion grows larger, it can become painful.
A bunion forms when the big toe moves out of alignment with the other toes. Over time the big toe shifts (or moves) closer and closer to the second toe.
The shifting of your big toe that causes a bunion to form is most often due to problems with how the foot functions. Many people who have bunions also have family members with the same problem as this condition is hereditary. Children can also have a bunion although may not be painful due to the same genetic predisposition.
Bunions are more likely to form if you don’t wear appropriate, supportive footwear. However, shoe gear doesn’t cause the bunion but can aggravate the issue more by not supporting the foot. High heels, in particular, force the bones of the foot into unnatural positions, placing them under considerable strain. Women develop bunions more frequently than men as they’re more likely to wear high heels.
Other foot problems such as arthritis or flat feet can also make you more likely to develop a bunion. In the early stages, bunions are more of a nuisance than a serious problem, but if left untreated they can become increasingly painful and disabling, so prompt attention at Kalmar Family Podiatry is the best course of action.
The first stage in the treatment of bunions is to provide support for the foot and accommodation for the bunion. Shoes should have wide, deep toe box rather than pointed or narrow to give room for the bunion, and a soft sole to provide cushioning for the foot. At the very early stages, a bunion splint may be used to assist in alignment of the big toe.
The podiatrists at Kalmar Family Podiatry can create custom orthotics, which area a pair of foot supports explicitly designed for a patient’s feet. The orthotics are made to fit inside your specific shoes and provide relief from the pain, as well as supporting the arch and helping realign the bones in your foot.
Protective padding can also help by eliminating friction where the bunion rubs against the inside of your shoe. The team at Kalmar Family Podiatry uses silicone gel bunion shields for this purpose. There are also many bunion exercises that can strengthen the muscles around your big toe that can assist in alignment.
In some cases, the pain associated with a bunion doesn’t respond to conservative approaches, or it may have progressed rapidly and become painful with everyday activities. If this is the case then surgery is recommended to realign the big toe and remove the bunion.
A bunionectomy is a skilled operation that requires the expertise of a foot and ankle surgeon, like your skilled podiatrist at Kalmar Family Podiatry.
If you think you have a bunion, or you’re experiencing any kind of pain in your feet, call Kalmar Family Podiatry today, or book an appointment online.