A bunion is a bony, often extremely painful bump that forms on the joint at the base of the big toe. It occurs when the big toe joint moves out of place. A bunionette, or tailor’s bunion, occurs when the same thing happens with the joint at the base of the little toe.
Bunions can be due to one or more of a number of reasons. Bunions may simply be part of your family history. A foot type that is prone to developing bunions can be handed down from parent to child. Years of wearing ill-fitting shoes can cause bunions. Women are more prone to bunion development because of tight-fitting high-heeled shoes with narrow toes.
In some cases, an underlying cause must be dealt with in order to address the bunions problem. Abnormal bone structure or foot injuries can cause bunions. Persons with inflammatory joint disease or arthritis are at risk for developing bunions.
A bunion will appear as a bony bump on the side of the foot at the base of the big toe. The big toe could be turned toward your other toes and may actually cross over the second toe. There may be redness and swelling accompanied by pain or tenderness. Occasionally corns or calluses develop over the bump. The area usually becomes shiny and warm to the touch.
Persistent pain as well as signs of infection warrant medical attention especially if you are diabetic. Left untreated, bunions usually get larger and more painful. Non-surgical treatments become less of an option.
Dr. Burmeister can usually diagnose a bunion simply by looking at your foot. However, he may order x-rays to determine its extent. If arthritis is suspected, blood tests may be done to determine its type.
Treatment for bunions is determined by the diagnosis. If the bunion is caused by another deformity, that deformity needs to be treated before commencing treatment for the bunion.
Sometimes if caught early, simple home treatment will be advised. This involves wearing shoes with a wide toe box, wearing a bunion pad, and applying heat or ice. Over-the-counter or prescription medication may be prescribed to reduce pain and inflammation. Taping may be advised to keep the toe in place. In addition, for bunions that are further developed, cortisone injections may be advised. Physical therapy and orthotics may be other options for treatment.
Surgery to repair the joint and relieve pressure may be recommended for cases where bunions are severe. Several procedures are available, depending on the bunion’s severity. Dr. Burmeister will go over surgical options for removing the large bump and restoring normal alignment of the toe joint with you.
Some bunions cannot be prevented. However, their development can be slowed by taking some precautions. Stay away from shoes that fit poorly or that have a narrow toe box. If you have flat feet, wear shoes that provide the proper arch support. At the very least, have Dr. Burmeister fit you for orthotics.
If you experience symptoms of bunions, Dr. Jeffrey Burmeister, DPM, and his experienced staff are ready to fully diagnose, treat, and see you on your way to pain-free living. Schedule an appointment by completing an online appointment request at www.jacksonvillefootandlaser.com/contact.html or by calling (904) 765-8889.