31 May Bunions
Bunions are a frequently encountered foot problem. The bunion is caused by heredity, flat feet, arthritis, trauma, and neuromuscular conditions. Usually the bunion is aggravated by tighter shoes and activity. The “bump” at the big toe joint that we call a bunion is actually caused by outward deviation of the metatarsal bone and inward deviation of the big toe toward the second toe leading to pain at the joint. Initial treatment will involve foot examination and x-rays to assess the deformity.
Generally, bunions can be classified as mild, moderate, and severe. In some cases, mild and moderate bunion deformities can be treated successfully to reduce associated pain with non-surgical means. This can be achieved using custom foot orthotics to control the mechanical foot instability that causes the bunion formation and thus prevent worsening of the bunion. Anti-inflammatory medications, cortisone injections, padding, and shoe changes also assist in reducing symptoms.
If non-surgical treatment does not reduce symptoms or in cases of severe bunions, surgical treatment may be necessary. Bunion surgery is typically done as an outpatient procedure at the hospital. You will have follow-up visits and x-rays in the office to help you heal properly. Even after surgery, the custom foot orthotics and well-fitting shoes are necessary to control the mechanical forces which caused the bunion in the first place and help prevent bunion recurrence.