If you have a bunion, you know the inconvenience they cause. These bumps at the base of the big toe form when the first metatarsal bone turns outward and the big toe points inward. As a result, your joint pushes out to the side in a deformity clinically known as hallux valgus.
Certain people, particularly women, have a genetic predisposition to developing bunions. Wearing tight, pointed shoes certainly doesn’t help. At Go Feet, we can help you manage bunions before they start to cause long-term health issues. The following are some of the issues you may encounter because of a bunion.
Impaired foot function
Bunions develop slowly over time. But, as the bunion gets larger, it can seriously affect how your foot works. You experience redness, swelling, tenderness, and pain at the base of the big toe, and it can migrate to the ball of the foot.
Your bent big toe may put pressure on your other toes, causing damage such as hammertoes or corns. You may also develop ingrown toenails and calluses on the bottom of the feet.
Constantly shifting your weight to take pressure off the irritated joint can lead to serious pain in the ball of the foot, a condition called metatarsalgia. You may find many shoes uncomfortable as they put pressure on the bunion. This affects many activities, even walking. You may find, as your bunion grows, that walking normally in otherwise comfortable flats causes persistent, unrelenting pain.
Bunions can discourage an active lifestyle, as walking and participating in other activities that put pressure on your feet are just plain painful. As you get older, bunions are more likely to form – a time when you benefit tremendously from the camaraderie and health benefits of physical activity.
A sedentary lifestyle puts you at greater risk of weight gain and chronic disease development. You are also more likely to suffer depression. Severe bunions can seriously interfere with the quality of life – making simple chores, such as just going to the store, unpleasant.
Your big toe joint has a higher chance of developing arthritis as a result of bunions. Because the joint is out of alignment, the friction on your bones is unusual, damaging the cartilage. When the cartilage wears thin or wears away completely, bone-on-bone pain results in stiffness and inflammation associated with arthritis.
Your big toe may be a small part of your body, but it plays a big role in helping you maintain balance and a proper gait. As your bunion grows, it affects the way your foot strikes the ground and how you distribute your weight. This can lead to problems that creep up the kinetic chain to the knees and hips. Bunions also throw off your balance and can cause falling, especially for the elderly.
At Go Feet, we take conservative approaches to treatment first, offering padding and taping to minimize pain. Medication and physical therapy can also reduce inflammation and bunion pain. A customized orthotic may also help with the side effects of gait and foot strike misalignment.
Surgery to remove the bony protrusion, a bunionectomy, is also a possible treatment for severe cases. If you have a bunion beginning to form, don’t wait until it becomes so serious that surgery is the only option. Proper management and treatment can help you avoid the painful complications of the deformity and delay invasive treatments. Call Go Feet for an appointment, or book using this website.