“Doctor, what is that bump on the inside of my foot?” is a common question at the home of happy feet. The patient usually points to an enlargement on the inside of the foot, just behind the big toe. “That is a bunion” is the usual answer. The patient then commonly blames their shoes for causing the problem, although typically shoes only aggrevate an existing bunion.
A bunion is really more of a shift of the bone behind the big toe, forming what appears to the patient as a “bump” that rubs against the shoe and causes the pain, redness and swelling that concerns the patient. As part of the bunion, the great toe will move towards the second toe, sometimes causing pain between the toes. Most bunions are caused by the type of foot you inherit producing an imballance at the big toe joint that, after thousands of steps, leads to the bunion. It is usually a progressive deformity, starting small, but gradually enlarging.
Non-surgical treatment of bunions involves trying to remove irritation from the prominence of the bunion. Non-medicated pads help cushion the bone from rubbing against the shoe. Wider shoes with a deeper toebox will also help relieve irritation. In more severe cases, ice, over the counter medication such as advil or ibuprophen and rarely cortisone injections are ultilized. Braces or straps designed to “pull” the toe back straight, in our experience, are not helpful.
If non-surgical treatment fails, the home of happy feet doctors can explain various surgical options for correction of the bunion. Usually this will involve removing a small prominence of bone combined with realigning the bone behind the great toe. The actual choice of bunion procedure is specifically tailored to the individual depending on such factors as their age, activity level, health status and the severity of the bunion. If you are suffering from painful bunions, our doctors can help relieve you pain and customize a treatment plan to best suit your needs.