Bunions. It’s a word that strikes fear into the heart of any style-loving fashionista!
If you’ve never suffered with one, and you think that it’s something that only ‘old people’ have to deal with – then you’re one of the lucky ones! Bunions don’t discriminate and can develop at any age; and women are also more likely to suffer from them, than men.
What is a Bunion?
A bunion (rhymes with ‘onion’) is a bony lump or bump that forms on the base of your big toe, on the side of your foot.
Why do they develop?
A bunion starts to form when the bones at the front part of your foot move out of place. Your big toe is forced towards your other toes, and the joint at the base of your big toe begins to stick out.
Bunions may be caused by wearing shoes that are too tight, due to a genetic or hereditary disposition, or as a result of a medical condition such as arthritis.
Signs and Symptoms
Signs that you have a bunion may include:
- Swelling at the base of your big toe
- Restricted movement of the big toe
It’s important to note that bunions don’t just go away, and ignoring a bunion may lead to further problems down the line.
Lifestyle Effects of Bunions
Without proper treatment a bunion may cause more problems than just localised pain, all of which may have a significant impact on your lifestyle.
- Damaged foot function – As a bunion grows it will put more pressure on your other toes, which may lead to issues such as corns, callouses and ingrown toenails.
- Reduce your independent lifestyle – the pain and discomfort generated from a bunion and associated issues can stop you from maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle.
- Balance issues – attempts to reduce the painful effects of a bunion may force you to put pressure on parts of your foot that you don’t normally use. This in turn places stress on your other joints up the line, such as your ankle and knee joints and may even cause back problems.
- Restrict your footwear choices – not all podiatrist approved shoes are attractive, an absolute tragedy for the fashionistas amongst us!
Why See a Podiatrist about Bunions
If you are troubled by bunion pain, seek expert help and advice from your local podiatrist, as they are trained in all things feet. Treatment may involve:
- Bunion Pads – these can be bought over the counter at your local chemist and provide a first line of defence against the pain.
- Taping – using medical tape to strap the foot into a better position may also help with reducing pain.
- Changing your shoes – it’s time to give up the pointy toes and instead get a wide shoe with a square toe box for plenty of room.
- Pain Relief – topical creams, paracetamol or ibuprofen may be helpful in reducing the pain and discomfort of a bunion.
- Orthotic Inserts – a custom made shoe insert may be prescribed by your podiatrist, to help correct alignment and pressure issues.
- Physical therapy – may assist in improving muscle strength around the bone as well as reducing the pain and inflammation.
- Surgery – if none of the above offer any real assistance in managing your bunion pain, then surgery to remove the bunion and realign the bones may be offered as a last resort.
It doesn’t matter how old you are, if you are experiencing bunion pain, it’s time to give it the boot. Call our Redlands podiatry clinic on (07) 3207 4736 for an appointment, or use our secure online booking system.