The human body is a marvelous collaboration of a wide array of parts, each
performing an intended function. Your feet are comprised of over sixty
joints that enable you to stand and be mobile. Everything is fine when
the joints function as they should, but pain and discomfort can arise
when parts fall out of line. Bunions are one example of what can happen
when components don’t line up like they should.
A bunion is a bump that can be found at the joint where your big toe meets
your foot (metatarsal joint). These bony bumps form as a result of your
big toe pushing against the second toe. This pressure forces the bone
or tissue around the joint of the big toe to increase in size and stick
out to the side. With this deformity, the skin over the bump can be sore
and possibly red in color. There is a related condition that occurs on
the outside edge of the foot known as a bunionette.
Causes and Risk Factors
In a normal, healthy foot, bodyweight is distributed in an even fashion
across the tendons and joints in the appendage. Bunions develop when this
natural distribution is disrupted by an imbalance of pressure, thereby
making your big toe joint unstable and causing structural components of
the joint to form a hard knob. This formation juts out beyond the normal
outline of your foot. Inherited foot shapes, injuries, and deformities
present at birth can all be contributing causes for this condition.
Risk factors that increase the likelihood of a bunion include wearing
high-heeled shoes and ill-fitting footwear, especially those that are
too tight or narrow. Arthritis is another factor that make you more susceptible
to this condition.
The easiest symptom of a bunion to identify is the bulging bump that can
be found on the outside of the metatarsal joint at the base of your big
toe. Additionally, there will be soreness, swelling, and redness around
it. Corns or calluses are often developed at the point of overlap for
the big and second toes. A bunion can lead to restricted movement of your
toe and either intermittent or persistent pain in the area. When you experience
these symptoms, it is time to schedule an appointment with Houston Foot
Diagnosis and Treatment Options
To rule out any other possible causes for the pain and swelling, it is
important to come in for an accurate diagnosis before treatment can be
administered. We will first conduct a physical exam of your foot and its
range of motion. You may be asked as to when the condition started, when
the pain is experienced most, and if there are any of your other toe joints
affected. X-rays can also be used to rule out other potential ailments.
Depending on the severity, conservative treatment options are recommended
initially. Nonsurgical methods for treating the pain and discomfort from bunions
include shoe inserts, medication, ice, padding, and taping or splinting your foot into a natural
position. A change in footwear to comfortable, roomy shoes will offer
ample space for your toes and decrease pressure on your bunion.
In severe bunion cases, if conservative methods do not work, surgery may
be the best option. This can entail removing swollen tissue, realigning
the long tarsal bone with your big toe, or connecting the bones in the
affected joint. Surgery should only be considered when a bunion interferes
with daily activity or causes chronic pain.
The risk of developing a bunion can be decreased by choosing footwear that
is comfortable, offers a roomy toe box, and conforms to the shape of your
foot without needing any part to be squeezed or pressed in an unnatural fashion.
If you are experiencing the pain and discomfort that bunions can cause,
come see the expert staff at Houston Foot Specialists. We will give you
the accurate diagnosis and effective treatment that you need. Schedule
an appointment at our Houston office by either calling (713) 467-8886 or
using our online form today.