Do you have a bunion? Do you want to know what may have caused the bunion or why you have one? Well, you came to the right spot because I am going to hopefully tell you all you want to know about bunions.
Bunions are a very common foot deformity. However, 90% of people make themselves suffer for years before seeking any treatment for them. Why suffer when you can get them treated now!
What is a Bunion Anyway?
The fancy, scientific name for a bunion is called hallux abducto valgus. I know, a big, hard-to-say name, but that’s what it’s called. Bunions are a big, bony lump on the inside of the foot by the big toe. The big lump is actually a change in the bony architecture in the front of the foot. The big toe tends to lean on the 2nd toe instead of being straight and erect. The bone behind the big toe (called a metatarsal) leans in the opposite direction, causing the lump on the inside of the foot.
Bunions get worse over time. The bump on the inside of the foot gets progressively bigger and the big toe leans even more on the 2nd toe and even the 3rd toe, bulldozing the toes out of the way. Bunions usually do not hurt until the deformity is really bad and that is when those people show up at our office wondering what to do.
Causes of the blasted Bunions
Of all the things that can cause bunions , my expertise tends to believe bunions are more hereditary than anything else. Look at Mom or Dad, or Grandma and Grandpa. If you have a bunion, I would put good money on the fact that they probably have one too. This inherited faulty architecture is unlucky, but don’t fret…..there is treatment.
In addition to genetics, you can also force yourself to have a bunion. You’re probably thinking, “How in the world can I make myself have a bunion?” Well, it’s pretty easy if you are not careful. Pointed-toed shoes are a big cause of bunions. It doesn’t have to be only high heeled shoes. Pointed cowboy boots and tight sneakers can also cause bunions. Most people find out that if they just find some wider shoes, their bunion pain disappears. It’s magic!
So if I have a bunion, what is it supposed to feel like?
You would be surprised. I have a tons of patients with terrible bunions who have no pain. No pain! You would think with having this huge lump on the inside of the foot, and the big toe cocked sideways, they would have some sort of pain. Guess what ladies and gentlemen, if I fixed every bunion that walked through the door, I would be in surgery all day, every day. So this is what I tell people with non-painful bunions: Your bunion will worsen. It will get bigger with time. If you start to develop arthritis in the big toe joint and the bone gets soft, it may be too late to get the procedure you need. Bone needs to be hard for screws and hardware to stay in place. So it is better off to fix a bunion earlier than later.
However, symptoms you might have are as follows:
2. Redness or inflammation
3. Burning in the joint
4. Numbness or tingling
Most of the time, symptoms occurs in tight shoes. Tighter the shoe = more bunion pain. This is probably why most ladies have more pain than men. Also, if you have a job where you stand most of the day, bunions can become very irritated.
So how do you diagnose a Bunion?
Diagnosis of a bunion is usually made right after you take off your sock. It is pretty easy to recognize, but knowing what to look for is key. Some patients have huge bunions and I say, “WOW! that’s a big bunion!” and the patient says, “What? Is that what that thing is?” I know that sounds crazy, but seriously folks, it happens.
I usually take x-rays to examine the bunion. I measure all the angles and can mathematically calculate which bunion procedure would be best for you.
How can you treat bunions without surgery?
I will be honest and say THERE IS NO CONSERVATIVE TREATMENT TO CORRECT YOUR BUNION!
Yes I said that. What you have is what you have. I cannot do anything non-surgically to correct your bunion, but we can slow the progression of it.
Things that might help you achieve a pain-free bunion without having surgery are listed below:
1. Padding – Our office, as well as every pharmacy in the United States, carries a truckload of pads for bunions. They range from gel to foam to felt.
2. Wider shoegear – Choose shoes with a wide toebox. High heels and pointed cowboy boots are gonna kill your feet if you don’t try and change.
3. Activity Modifications – Try not to stand so long. Harder to say than do, but try if you can.
4. Medications – There are medicines out there that I can prescribe or you can take over-the-counter to decrease the inflammation in the bog toe joint.
5. Ice therapy – Nothing like a good old-fashioned ice pack to decrease some inflammation.
6. Injection therapy – Nobody like shots, but a small dose of steroid can do a joint good when the inflammation is making your life hard.
7. Orthotics – a custom shoe insert is an excellent and proven method for slowing down the progression of bunions. Of all the conservative therapies, this one, by far, is the best.
What if I tried all this conservative stuff and I am ready to have surgery?
If conservative treatment has failed, and you are at your wit’s end, then surgery is needed. Bunion surgery is very common. There are 75 types of bunion surgeries that can be performed, however, I have my favorites. The type of surgery depends on how bad your bunion is. I have done surgery on the smallest bunions and the largest, most gnarly bunions you have ever seen. I would personally have to evaluate your bunion to determine which procedure would be the best for you.
Please read the following blog about bunion surgery. I have a listed several things to know concerning surgery. I hope this helps. Have a nice day.