Did you know that more than half of the women in America suffer from a bunion? At Texas Foot Specialists, we often don’t see patients with bunions until they are so bad that it is difficult for them to walk or wear shoes. Many times, patients are afraid that, if they come in, they will find out they need surgery. Ironically, treating a bunion in its earliest stages can actually help avoid or significantly delay the need for surgery.
Bunions are usually caused by a defect in the biomechanics that causes changes in the bony framework of the front of your foot. Over time the big toe begins to drift towards the second toe. As the condition progresses, the bone at the base of the big toe moves out of alignment and the telltale bump forms on the side of the toe.
Our podiatrists, Dr. Gregory Mangum and Dr. Bruce Miller, will want to examine your toe and also get your medical history and learn whether or not bunions run in your family. The foot doctor may also want you to get an x-ray to be able to assess the full extent of the deformity and to use as a baseline for monitoring future changes. Although bunions are a progressive condition (meaning they won’t improve on their own), they progress at varying rates. The conservative measures below can bring relief and help prevent a bunion from getting worse:
- Changes in footwear—shoes with pointy toes and high heels will further aggravate a bunion by squeezing the toes together. Choosing footwear with a roomy toe box made of soft, flexible material will be more comfortable and won’t hasten the progression of a bunion.
- Icing—applying ice to the bunion a few times a day can decrease pain and inflammation. Do not apply ice or ice packs directly to the skin. Wrap in a thin towel first.
- Medications—nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (like ibuprofen) may be prescribed to reduce inflammation and pain.
- Padding—soft pads placed over the bunion can provide a cushion of protection and reduce friction from rubbing up against the inside of a shoe.
- Orthotics—an insert for your shoes that repositions your foot may help compensate for the structural defect that is forcing your toe out of position.
For some patients, surgery to correct a bunion may be the best or only solution, but there are usually many other options for the foot doctor to try first. If you have a bunion, don’t wait. Contact our Pasadena (281) 991-0600, Sugar Land (281) 242-4448 or Houston (713) 664-6677 office for an appointment today.