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Beating Those Bothersome Bunions
A bunion is a painful bump that forms at the base of the side of the big toe. This usually happens when the bones in the foot are unevenly positioned. Over time, the big toe bone rotates away from the other bones, making the foot appear larger. The big toe joint then bends towards the other toes. The bunion usually appears at this joint. The rotation can become so severe that the second toe overlaps the big toe. Bunions are a common foot deformity, happening to about 1 in 3 Americans.
How do you treat a bunion?
Most bunions start small and are barely noticeable. Bunions are often hereditary but can be formed by wearing narrow or ill-fitting shoes. Persons with bunions experience inflammation, pain while walking, and blisters. Bunions won’t go away without treatment. If left untreated, bunions get worse. Treatment is geared to slow the progression of the bunion and reduce the pain. Yet, there are some cases where a doctor suggests a bunionectomy.
Should you go under the knife?
A bunionectomy is a simple outpatient procedure to realign the affected toe. The surgery is usually minimally invasive. In most cases, the surgeon cuts some parts of the ligament and shaves off the bunion. In severe cases, the surgeon cuts pieces of bone to help correctly align the bone. This process may require plates and screws to assist with healing. Surgery is not the first step to treating bunions. However, there are 3 signs where a bunionectomy should be considered.
1. Non-surgical treatments aren’t working
There are several non-surgical ways to treat bunions. For pain management, ice therapy and over the counter medication can help. Shoe pads, shoe inserts, and splints for bunions can help with alignment. This slows down the foot deformity. If these treatments are used for some time, without any success, consider surgery.
2. All bent out of shape
Persons with a severe bunion often find the second toe overlapping the big toe. At this stage, bone spurs can form, causing more pain. Walking, running, and standing gets painful. Most shoes won’t fit without pain or discomfort as the foot is too far deformed. Surgery can help persons who have a poor quality of life as a result.
3. The pain goes deeper
Does the pain feel a bit deeper than the bunion? In some cases, bunions can cause severe joint pain. This is a sign of arthritis. The cartilage between the joints starts to degrade. Surgery not only helps with pain but may relieve arthritis symptoms as well.
No relief? Try a bunionectomy
Bunions cause severe pain and can impact the quality of life. More importantly, bunions won’t go away without consistent care. Try all non-surgical methods to reduce pain and to maintain the shape of the foot. If non-surgical treatment fails, speak with a doctor or podiatrist today. A bunionectomy is often the next best step with a 95% success rate.