Bulging Bunions: Signals to Seek Professional Podiatric Assistance

bunion

Bunions (hallux valgus) are a painful bony bump that develops on the outer edge of your foot at the base of your big toe joint. They can cause pain and restrict movement in your shoes.

If nonsurgical treatment is ineffective, it may be time to consult with a podiatrist. They can recommend footwear and accessories that reduce the pressure on your feet.

Symptoms

The first sign of a bunion is usually a bump at the base of your big toe. It can be a hard lump of bony tissue that isn’t movable and often has a red, swollen appearance. It can cause pain when you wear shoes that put pressure on the joint. It can also cause a callus to develop and can lead to other foot problems like arthritis and hammertoes.

Bunions are caused by excess pressure on the MTP or metatarsophalangeal joint of your big toe. This pressure can be exacerbated by wearing tight shoes, or high heels and by having a foot deformity. When the pressure becomes excessive it can lead to inflammation and the formation of a painful bump. It can also lead to other conditions like hammertoes and pinched nerves like neuromas.

A podiatrist can diagnose a bunion using a physical examination, a foot history, and an X-ray examination. They can also look at how your feet move and if there are any other foot problems like flat feet that might contribute to the development of bunions.

Bunions can be prevented by wearing shoes that fit well and leave plenty of room for the toes. You can also use shoe inserts or arch supports, known as orthotics, to support your feet. In some cases, a bunion will disappear on its own over time. However, it is important to go to your trusted podiatry clinic in Brisbane North at the earliest signs of a bunion so they can treat it before the condition gets worse.

See also  How Dyslexia Tutoring Helps Navigate Neurosensory Challenges

Diagnosis

Bunions are a bony protrusion that juts out from the side of your big toe joint. They develop when this joint moves out of its normal alignment toward the other toes, and they become red and swollen with time. They also can hurt, especially when you wear shoes that fit too tightly. Sometimes, the toe can even get hammer or claw-like in appearance. These symptoms can interfere with daily activities and impact your quality of life, so they should not go untreated.

Medical scientists believe that bunions form when something causes your big toe joint (MTP) to be pressured out of its normal alignment for long periods of time. This could be from wearing narrow shoes that crowd your toes, foot conditions that cause your joints to swell or hurt (like rheumatoid arthritis), or from doing certain athletic activities.

Your healthcare provider can diagnose bunions by looking at your feet and doing a physical examination. They may also order X-rays to see how severe your bunions are. Most bunions progress and become painful over time, but conservative therapies can help slow or stop the progression. These include padding, taping, or splinting your toe, using shoe inserts (like over-the-counter or custom orthotics), avoiding activities that increase pain, and taking medication to reduce inflammation and pain, like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

Treatment

Bunions can be treated with conservative measures, which include reducing pressure on the big toe joint by wearing comfortable shoes that fit well and by using pads to cushion the area. Medications such as painkillers may also help reduce inflammation and swelling, while splints and orthotics can reposition the big toe and/or provide padding.

See also  What Podiatrists and Physiotherapists Can Treat and How They Help

If bunions aren’t treated, they can get worse and lead to a deformity called hammer toe. This causes the toe next to the big toe to bend abnormally, causing it to push against the other toes and create more pressure. This can also cause the bunion to get larger and more painful. Bunions can also damage nerves in the foot, leading to numbness and tingling in the big toe or surrounding area.

There is no one reason that people develop bunions. They are thought to develop because of a combination of things, including a genetic predisposition, wearing shoes that crowd the toes (like shoes with narrow or pointed toe boxes), and having an abnormal structure of the foot. Women are more likely to develop bunions, but they can affect men as well.

Bunion surgery is generally successful and can alleviate pain and correct the deformity. It involves making small cuts in the toe bone to realign the joint. Your doctor will often fix the new joint with pins, screws, or plates.

Prevention

The development of bunions – hard, bony bumps at the base of the big toe or underneath the small toe, called bunionettes – is often due to wearing shoes that are too narrow and force the toes together. Over time, this puts pressure on the large joint at the base of the big toe (metatarsophalangeal, or MTP) and causes the big toe to shift toward the second toe. Bunions are also more common in people who have flat feet, arthritic joints, or neuromuscular disorders. People who participate in sports that put undue stress on their feet, like ballet dancers or runners, are also prone to developing them.

See also  Bunions Got You Down? Treatment Options and Relief Strategies

While a bunion is not reversible, it can be treated to reduce pain and prevent the condition from getting worse. A podiatrist can recommend shoes with a wider toe box or that are shaped to fit the foot better, which can help relieve pressure on the toes. Using an ice pack to reduce swelling and pain and taking an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication can also help. In severe cases, surgery may be recommended to correct the alignment of the bones in the big toe joint and relieve symptoms.

Bunions are a common foot problem that can be a warning signal for other health problems, such as bursitis or hammertoes. If you notice your shoes rubbing uncomfortably on the sides of your toes, make an appointment with a New Jersey podiatrist who can diagnose your condition and develop a treatment plan.