If you have bunions, you probably deal with a lot of discomforts. They can make it difficult to stand and walk. If you don’t get them taken care of, they can eventually even alter your walking pattern (called your gait).
Bunions are bony growths on your foot. They can start out as bumps on the outer edge of your big toe. But especially if you don’t wear the right shoes, your shoes can put more pressure on the bunions, causing the problem to get worse. The providers at Washington Foot & Ankle Sports Medicine explain more about how to treat bunions.
What are bunions?
Bunions are hard, bony growths on the outer edge of your big toe. First, conservative treatments are recommended. You can try wearing cushions to provide relief from the bunions. It’s also a good idea to wear roomier shoes to take the pressure off your bunion and avoid wearing shoes that pinch your toes together.
Although a bunion looks like a bump on your big toe, it’s actually a deformity of your big toe joint. The joint where bunions form is called the metatarsophalangeal joint, or MTJ. If you are just beginning to form a bunion, you may experience the following symptoms:
- Pain when walking
- Corns and calluses between your toes
- Big toe pressing against your other toes
Bunions may be correctable if you change your footwear to allow more room for your toes.
Other treatments for bunions
Other treatments for bunions can include more low-tech, conservative options. In addition to wearing shoes that allow more room for your toes, you can also try the following:
- Putting cold compresses on your feet
- Switching to shoes with flat soles
- Taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as naproxen (Aleve®) or ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®)
- Alleviating pressure with bunion pads
If none of the above options provide relief, the next step is usually surgery, called a bunionectomy.
When you need surgery
Sometimes, when you have bunions, you don’t get relief from conservative treatments. When that’s the case, you may be referred for surgery to reposition your bunions.
The surgery is usually performed in the office and you can go home the same day.
Bunion surgery removes the bony outgrowth and straightens out the tendons. This should provide relief and you should begin having more comfort while you walk, though the recovery period is usually several weeks. You’ll need to be off of your feet while you recover.
You can get your MTJ back in alignment. Take your bunion seriously and contact the providers at Washington Foot & Ankle Sports Medicine today or request an appointment online.