Posts for tag: Bunions
A bunion is one of the most common foot deformities, often affecting the joint at the base of the big toe. Anyone can develop this painful condition but it most often occurs in women. A bunion affects the structure of the foot, causing the joint to become enlarged, which causes the big toe to lean inward towards the other toes. In some cases, the big toe even overlaps the toes. This deformed joint may often become red or swollen, especially when wearing certain shoes or after certain physical activities.
A bunion is a gradual deformity, which means that as soon as you begin to notice changes in the joint or you start to experience symptoms you should consult a podiatrist. While the only way to correct the deformity is through surgery this is usually the last treatment option. After all, a foot doctor can often create a treatment plan that will reduce pain and prevent the deformity from progressing without needing to turn to surgery.
The first course of treatment is usually more conservative. You may be able to manage your bunion pain and swelling by:
- Taking over-the-counter NSAIDs
- Icing the bunion for up to 15 minutes at a time, 2-3 times a day
- Placing orthotics into your shoes to alleviate pressure on the joint (talk to your podiatrist about creating custom orthotics)
- Splinting or taping the foot to improve the structural alignment
- Wearing appropriate and supportive footwear that doesn’t put pressure on the toes or bunion
- Applying a bunion pad over the area to prevent a callus from forming while wearing shoes
- Avoiding certain activities and sports that could exacerbate your condition
For many people, these lifestyle changes and simple at-home treatment options are all that’s needed to reduce bunion pain and discomfort, and to prevent the problem from getting worse. Of course, if you find that at-home care isn’t providing you with relief, or if bunion pain is persistent or severe, then you should turn to a podiatrist for an evaluation. Not sure if you have a bunion or not? Call your foot doctor.
When should someone consider bunion surgery?
As we mentioned earlier, bunion surgery is considered a last resort when all other treatment options have been exhausted and they haven’t helped get your bunion symptoms under control. You may also want to consider getting bunion surgery if:
- Your bunion is large and makes it difficult to wear shoes
- Your bunion pain is severe and chronic
- You have trouble walking or moving around because of your bunion
- Your bunion is affecting your quality of life
It can take up to 6 months to fully recover from traditional bunion surgery so it’s important to discuss all of your treatment options with your podiatrist to find the most effective method for getting your bunion symptoms under control.
Don’t let bunion pain affect your day-to-day life.
Bunion pain getting you down? Feeling like you want to get up and go but your feet don’t want to? If so, our Washington DC podiatrist, Dr. James Mintzer, can help you get your discomfort under control. Here are some easy, nonsurgical ways to reduce your bunion problems:
If your bunion gives you grief whenever you step into shoes, then you may want to consider getting a bunion pad, which can be applied over the area to take pressure off the deformity while wearing shoes. It can also prevent a callus or corn from forming.
Wear the Right Shoes
High heels and shoes that are too tight or bunch up your toes will only make your bunion worse. It’s important that you are wearing shoes that give your toes enough room to move around and wiggle freely. Avoid shoes that have a heel over 2-inches tall and instead look for a pair that provides added cushioning and support for the soles of your feet. If you exercise or workout, it’s also important that you replace your sneakers every 3-4 months or when they start to wear out.
Use Topical Pain Relief
Once pain already surfaces, our Washington DC foot doctors understand that the goal is to eliminate the pain as soon as possible. One way to do this is to find topical pain relieving gels. Some of these gels contain menthol and other cooling properties that can reduce inflammatory and pain. Some products containing capsaicin have also been known to temporarily alleviate bunion pain when applied to the area.
Ice the Pain Away
Another way to reduce pain and inflammation is by icing the bunion. Make sure to wrap the ice pack with a towel before applying to the area, as applying ice directly to the skin can cause burns. Ice the bunion for up to 15 minutes, making sure to move the ice around to different areas of the foot. Alternatively, you may choose to soak your feet in cool (but not ice cold) water. If you are dealing with joint stiffness, you may want to turn to a warm foot soak or a warm compress to provide relief.
When to Consider Surgery
Surgery is rarely required if you catch the bunion early on and incorporate certain lifestyle modifications; however, if your bunion pain is severe, affecting how you move around, and not responding to at-home care, it may be time to talk to our podiatrist about whether surgery is the best option.
Want to get your pain under control? Then call Providence Foot Health Center in Washington DC today to find out how we can help you! Our number is (202) 269-4062.