Bunions are a very common problem that can affect your feet. Usually, in the early stages, bunions don’t cause pain. But over time, they can cause a lot more pain.
These common growths on your feet can have a genetic cause, although they can have other causes as well. It’s important to seek medical attention from a podiatrist. The providers at Washington Foot and Ankle Sports Medicine offer this information about bunions and what you can do about them.
What are bunions?
A bunion is a bump on the side of your big toe. It is actually an abnormality of your foot bones that makes your big toe look like it’s leaning toward your second toe. You typically can’t hold your toes out straight.
Sometimes, the bunion is caused by genetics, meaning that if other relatives have them, you might, too. They are usually caused by an improper foot structure, including flat feet or extremely flexible ligaments.
However, sometimes bunions are caused by other factors, including the type of shoes that you wear.
Symptoms of bunions
Some signs that you have a bunion include:
- A bump on the outside of your big toe
- Redness, swelling, or soreness around your big toe joint
- Limited movement of your big toe
- Pain, which may either be constant or may come and go
- Calluses or corns, especially where your big toe and second toe meet
Bunions can lead to other foot problems, including hammertoes, ingrown toenails, bursitis, and calluses on the bottom of your feet.
The cause of bunions
You may wonder what caused your bunions, especially if you don’t have a family history. Other factors that can cause bunions include:
- Wearing pointy shoes, such as high heels, that squeeze your toes together
- Wearing too-small or too-tight shoes that crowd your toes
- Having a job in which you stand on your feet all day
If you have bunions, you need to make an appointment with the providers at Washington Foot & Ankle Sports Medicine as soon as possible. Bunions tend to get worse if you ignore them and can even lead to a more sedentary lifestyle, as walking becomes more painful.
How to treat bunions
How to treat your bunions depends in some part on what’s causing them. When you make an appointment with one of our providers, the first thing that will be done is a thorough examination of your feet.
If you regularly wear too-tight shoes or high heels, often it can be as simple as changing the type of footwear that you wear. The ideal type of footwear if you have bunions is a slightly roomy shoe, with a lot of room for your toes to move freely.
Pads that you can buy at the store can provide cushion for your bunion and keep the pressure of your shoes off of your bunion.
Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®) or naproxen sodium (Aleve®) can help. In some cases, we may recommend administering cortisone shots to reduce the inflammation.
You can also use ice compresses on your foot to reduce the swelling and pain.
In some severe cases, you may get a minor surgery called a bunionectomy. During this in-office procedure, we surgically remove your bunion.
If you have a bunion and you notice that it’s causing you discomfort, there are things that can help. Contact the providers at Washington Foot & Ankle Sports Medicine today or book an appointment online.