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A bunion occurs when the joint at the base of the big toe becomes swollen and sore, causing it to stick out. The big toe can begin to angle inward toward the second toe, sometimes overlapping it. Bunions can get larger over time, eventually making it difficult and painful to walk.
In most cases, bunions can be treated without surgery. However, if nonsurgical methods do not relieve pain, surgical options are available as well.
If weightbearing in the foot is unevenly distributed among the joints and tendons in your feet, the joint at the base of the big toe can become unstable. This can lead to the formation of a bunion, a hard knob that juts out from the normal shape of the foot.
There are several possible causes and and factors that may contribute to the formation of bunions. Shoes that are too tight, have high heels, or are too small or narrow may contribute to bunion formation. Heredity may also contribute to bunion formation, as can foot injuries, arthritis, or foot deformities present at birth. Bunions are generally more common in women than in men.
Bunions can cause swelling, redness, or soreness around the joint at the base of the big toe. The skin at the base of the big toe may become thickened, and movement of the big toe can become restricted over time. If the bunion causes the big toe to overlap the second toe, corns or calluses may develop in that area.
In most cases, bunions can be managed without the need for surgery. Well-fitting shoes are often effective in preventing progression of the bunion.
Shoes should conform to the shape of the foot and be wide enough to accommodate the toes without compressing them into an unnatural position. Heels should be no higher than 2 ¼ inches. Soft soles can help to cushion the area, and protective pads or shoe inserts can help to relieve pressure on the bunion. If the bunion becomes painful or swollen, applying an ice pack may help. Over-the-counter pain medications may also be recommended for pain.
If nonsurgical methods fail to relieve pain, surgery may be recommended.
There are several different surgical options available to realign the big toe and relieve pain.
During an osteotomy, the bone is cut so that the surgeon can realign the toe. If the tendons and ligaments in the toe are too tight on one side and too loose on the other, the tendons may be repaired to correct the imbalance.
If the bunion is severe, the patient has severe arthritis, or other procedures have failed to correct the bunion, arthrodesis may be recommended. During this procedure, the damaged joint surfaces are removed, and wires, screws, or plates may be used to hold the joint in place as it heals.
Even after surgery, patients are advised not to wear narrow or tightly-fitted shoes.
Bunion Treatment and Surgery in Beaumont, TX
At Beaumont Bone and Joint Institute, we offer both surgical and nonsurgical treatment methods for a full range of foot and ankle conditions, including bunions. We work with you to determine the treatment plan that best meets your needs. If you would like to learn more about bunion treatment at Beaumont Bone and Joint Institute or schedule an appointment with one of our doctors, please call our Beaumont office at (409) 838-0346 or our Mid County office at (409) 729-5633.