We’re stepping out of National Foot Health Month with a post on a condition that affects a number of Americans, bothersome bunions. Ashley Bojrab, DPM, PPG – Podiatry, explains the causes, prevention and treatment options.
A bunion occurs when one toe starts to lean over to the neighboring toe. This can result in discomfort, deformity issues and/or a bump on the inner portion of the foot. This condition typically impacts the aging population (50+) and can range in the amount of pain experienced.
Bunions have a genetic component and can be inherited from parents and grandparents. They can also be the result of the structure of the foot. A flatter foot can cause a bunion deformity, as can unsupportive shoe gear.
Prevention has to start early. Children, teens and adults should always wear good, supportive shoes. Go into a shoe store regularly and get measured to make sure you’re purchasing shoes that are the correct width and length. This is especially important with children, who grow faster. If you have flat feet, consider inserts to prevent a bunion deformity. If you’re predisposed or already have a bunion, supportive shoes can keep them from getting worse.
To ease the discomfort of bunions and prevent them from becoming worse, make sure you’re in the right shoe gear. Purchase styles with a wider toe box, support in the arch and padding. Injections and orthotics can be useful for conservative treatment.
A final approach, and perhaps the most extreme, would be to explore a surgical option. This would be a final resort, when pain is at a 10/10 and is at a constant 10. With surgery, the bone is broken and shifted over, often fused back together. This is followed with 6-8 weeks in a boot, ice, rest and elevation post-op. This can be a lengthy healing process, so most podiatrists will explore all other options first.