What is a bunion?
Bunions are lumps or bumps that appear on the side of the foot at the base of the big toe where the toe meets the rest of the foot. Less commonly, bunions can also form on the top of the toe joint, causing a bump to form without the characteristic “sideways” misalignment of the joint. Bunions can be very painful, and without care, they can cause issues with mobility.
What causes bunions to form?
The exact cause of bunions is unclear, but most medical research indicates bunions form as a result of both hereditary factors that determine the shape of the feet, as well as wearing shoes that bind the toes, causing the big toe to be pushed inward toward the other toes. Over time, this constant pressure can cause the joint to become deformed and even arthritic.
How are bunions treated?
Because bunions result in deformity of the toe joint, surgery is usually the best option to correct the bunion and restore the joint and the foot to a more natural shape. Several surgical techniques and approaches can be used to correct a bunion. During the procedure, an incision will be made near or over the joint, and the joint will be placed in its normal position and secured with pins or screws. A portion of bone may also need to be removed to enable the joint position to be properly restored. In some cases, the joint may be fused to keep it properly aligned with the rest of the foot. Today’s surgical techniques enable quick recovery, and most patients can walk on the foot the same day their surgery is performed. For those who wish to avoid surgery, at least for the time being, nonsurgical options include the use of splints during sleep to help coax the toe into a more normal position, and custom orthotics to support the toe joint.
Before and After Treatment at Global Podiatry