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 dont 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 Specialists.
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.