Bunions: Causes and Treatments

By Nationwide Foot & Ankle Care
October 08, 2018
Category: Foot Conditions
Tags: Bunion  

Is your foot changing shape? Is there a pronounced bump at the bottom of the big toe? Has walking become uncomfortable? These symptoms and others often indicate a common podiatric problem called a bunion. In Commerce Township, Livonia, and Royal Oak, MI, Dr. Randy Semma, Dr. Michelle Bertelle-Semma, and Dr. Stacey Stefansky treat bunions, thereby helping their patients remain active and comfortable.

How Bunions Happen

The American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society says that these bony deformities happen to children, teens, and adults, with women and seniors being especially prone to developing them. Precipitating factors include:

  • Lax connective tissue in the foot
  • Osteoporosis
  • Heredity (they tend to run in families)
  • Narrow, tight, high-heeled shoes
  • Flat feet
  • Fractures and sprains around the first metatarsophalangeal joint

Typically, when the foot doctor sees a suspected bunion, it looks red, irritated, and may have a callus or corn. Calluses often form on the bottom of feet which have bunions. Accompanying the bunion may be arthritis, bursitis, a limited range of motion, a deformity called hammertoes, and there may even be a crossing of the big toe over the second or third toe. Pain, of course, accompanies the deformity in varying intensity.

During a bunion inspection, you can expect that, along with a visual inspection of the foot, the podiatrist will make you walk to check your gait, and may take digital X-rays to visualize the joint.

Treating Bunions

Most people do well with non-invasive interventions. Bunionectomy, or surgical removal of the bump and re-alignment of the big toe, is more the exception rather than the rule in treatment.

As part of a customized care plan, the foot doctor may advise:

  • Over-the-counter analgesics to reduce discomfort
  • A night splint for the adolescent patient whose bones are more malleable
  • Shoe padding
  • Customized orthotics, or shoe inserts, to correct gait problems and reduce friction on the joint
  • Stretching exercises
  • A change in footwear

As simple as the last intervention is, it usually works wonders. Quality shoes with room in the toe box allow for proper alignment and less friction on the first metatarsophalangeal joint. The American Podiatric Medical Association advises that women wear heel no higher than 2-1/2 inches to keep undue pressure off the forefoot.

Comfortable Feet

You can have them once again. Contact Nationwide Foot & Ankle today for a consultation on your bunion. We have three convenient locations:

  • For Livonia, call (734) 261-3400
  • For Royal Oak, call (248) 549-3338
  • For Commerce Township, call (248) 956-0177

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