What Are Bunions?

A bump that forms on the side of your foot at the base of the big toe is a bunion (Hallux Valgus). This is due to spurring or enlargement of the joint and progressive shifting of the big toe. Over time, this bump gets bigger resulting in more pain and discomfort. Bunions can be caused by tight fitting shoes, physical activity and health conditions such as gout, arthritis, neurovascular disease or trauma. Flat feet and abnormal biomechanics can also cause bunion formation. Wearing tight or high-heeled shoes can contribute to both pain and advancement of deformity from bunions.

Bunions become aggravated by shoe pressure. A bursa (red, inflamed area) can develop. Continued pressure on the inflammation presses against the blood vessels causing a throbbing pain. When the swelling presses against the nerve, shooting pains occur. If left untreated, growth of the bunion can put pressure on neighboring toes causing hammertoes, corns and callouses, and even arthritis in the joint.

How Are Bunions Treated?

Your podiatrist at Ryan Foot and Ankle clinic with thoroughly evaluate your bunion and foot. They will prescribe a course of treatment based on the exam.

Non-surgical treatment options can include:
» Anti-inflammatory and/or pain medications
» Custom Orthotics (inserts)
» Specialty shoes or recommend a roomier shoe
» Rest and elevate the foot.
» Bunion pads, to cushion and protect the area

What To Expect If Surgery Is Recommended?

If non-surgical treatment options do not resolve the problems, your foot surgeon may recommend a bunionectomy. This surgery may be also become necessary due to the onset of arthritis, which can complicate surgery in the future if you put it delayed.

Your foot surgeon will remove the large bump to improve the function and alignment of the big toe joint. The bone may be cut and move to a more normal position in some instances. Pins, screws and wires are used as needed to improve results. Depending on your procedure, your healing time will range between three and twelve weeks.

If you have a bunion or would like more information about this condition, give us a call at one of our 5 local podiatry offices in Charlotte, Concord and Harrisburg today for more information or to schedule an appointment.