I Have a Bunion: Is It Serious?

When the joint at the big toe (the metatarsal bone) turns outward and the big toe leans inward toward your other toes, you have a bunion. Bunions may start mild and with time, develop into a greater and greater protrusion. They come in a variety of sizes: small, medium, large, and severe. Though a bunion is often a mild annoyance, it usually isn’t painful. Some bunions, however, can cause serious problems.

A bunion can deform your foot and affect your choice of footwear. In some cases, a bunion can lead to disability and sedentary habits. At Go Feet, we want men and women in the Hammonton and Mays Landing, New Jersey areas to have healthy, functioning feet, and we can help you manage your bunion and heal it, if necessary. If you’re worried about your bunion, read on to find out the potential consequences.

Inflammation

A bunion can cause inflammation that causes pain in the toe. The bursa, a fluid-filled sac that surrounds this metatarsophalangeal joint, becomes irritated because of the irregular bone position. This contributes to stiffness, pain, and sometimes swelling.

Shoe changes

Bunions are usually hereditary, so some people are more prone to developing them than others. Your bunion may have been exacerbated by wearing narrow, pointed-toe footwear. High heels can also trigger bunion development because they shift your body weight forward. Once a bunion develops, it may become impossible to slide your feet into fashionable shoes.

Impaired foot function

A bunion can, with time, affect your foot’s ability to function. Your other toes may suffer, forming corns or bending into uncomfortable hammertoes. You may find your nails become ingrown and calluses develop on the bottom of your foot. A bunion may also cause you to shift your weight, causing referred pain at the ball of your foot.  With time, you may find exercise and even walking to be uncomfortable.

Decreased quality of life

Women are far more likely to develop bunions than men, and this foot disorder can lead to disability and sedentary habits. A bunion can interfere with the ability to do daily chores and activities, especially as a woman (or any person) ages.

What to do about a bunion

Conservative management of bunions includes making smart shoe choices, such as those with a wide, flexible sole and room at the front toe box. We recommend athletic shoes, soft leather shoes, and sandals. Avoid high heels with a lift higher than an inch.

You may also choose to protect the bunion with a moleskin or gel-filled pad. We can also fit you for shoe inserts that can help position your foot correctly. Ice packs, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, physical therapy, and warm soaks help when a bunion becomes painful and inflamed.

In more severe cases, the Go Feet team may offer cortisone injections to alleviate pain temporarily. In the most severe cases, Dr. Stuart Honick may recommend a surgical procedure to correct the joint.

If you suspect you have a bunion or have one that is interfering with your daily activity, consult the experts at Go Feet. We can offer management advice to prevent it from worsening or treatment to bring you relief. Call today or book online

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