Not only do bunions hurt and make it hard to walk, but they protrude from the side of your big toe and can be quite embarrassing, especially in sandal season. Yet bunions are a common foot problem and a primary reason that people see an orthopedic doctor.
If bunions are slowing you down, you may be thinking about fixing the problem with surgery.
While that’s an option in severe cases, there are some other measures you can take to relieve the pain and aggravation of bunions.
At Next Step Orthopedics, we’re passionate about patient education and helping you understand all of your treatment options. While surgery is sometimes necessary, it’s likely that you’ll see vast improvement with some of the nonsurgical remedies that Dr. Dominique Nickson recommends.
But first, let’s look at the causes and symptoms of bunions.
A bunion is a lump of bone that juts out from the base of your big toe on the inside of your foot. It develops when your foot bones are misaligned, causing your big toe to lean toward the other toes rather than staying straight. This creates a domino effect: as the big toe leans more and more, the bones slowly change their position over time, and the bunion grows larger.
While the tight shoes you wear don’t actually cause the problem, they often speed up the progression of your bunion and make it worse. The actual cause of bunions is thought to be genetic, because your foot anatomy is inherited. Bunion development may also be due to a medical condition like arthritis.
Symptoms of a bunion
Of course, the telltale sign of a bunion is the protrusion near your big toe, which leads to several other problems:
- Pain and soreness
- Numbness and/or tingling
- Calluses and corns
- Decreased range of motion
We understand how painful bunions can be and work with you to help minimize your symptoms.
Alternatives to surgery
Dr. Nickson always prefers the least invasive solutions. He recommends a number of effective treatments to slow down the progression of your bunions so you can avoid or delay surgical intervention.
- Weight loss to relieve pressure on your feet and toes
- Shoes with a wider toe box to avoid crowding your toes
- Medications to minimize pain and inflammation
- Custom orthotics to alleviate pressure on your foot and toe joints
- Ice therapy to decrease swelling and inflammation
- Steroid injections to decrease pain, swelling, and inflammation
- Physical therapy to improve your bone alignment and posture
- Support with taping, padding, or splinting to keep your foot and toes in ideal positions