Bunions of the Feet

Bunions are a common problem where the Great Toe (Big Toe) metatarsal bone shifts outward and away from the second. This is recognizable by the Great Toe pointing inwards. Bunions develop in approximately 30% of the population, which 9 out of 10 are women.  Bunions start slowly and progress as we get older. At first the Great tow will lean against the second toe. Over many years the bone on at the end of the 1st metatarsal will jut outward and on severe cases the second toe will overlap the Great Toe. This is the classic Bunion.

A tailor’s bunion is similar to a bunion in that it is caused by the same circumstances. They are recognizes as smaller bunions that form on the joint(s) at the base of the little toes


What Cases A Bunion?

  • Heredity – most people have parents or grandparents who have had bunions.
  • Pronation – during the walking gate the pressure is carried mostly by the Great Toe. If the inside of your shoes show greater wear, this is a noticeable sign.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis can contribute
  • NUMBER 1 REASON – (Improper fitting of footwear) although experts disagree, I think the evidence states its case. 9 out 10 cases are women and what do they wear. Tight fitting shoes and high heels with little or no cushioning. Yes they can say that there mother had them too, but what did the mother wear? Probably shoes that were narrow or pointed and high heels. Why else would men be one out of ten?

What Are The Symptoms?

  • The Great Toe facing inward toward the other toes
  • A bulging bump on the outside of the base of your big toe that is often red from swelling and is painful to the touch
  • A callus forms at the base of the Great Toe
  • Limited motion of the Great Toe
  • Swelling in the joint
  • Joint pain increases when wearing shoes
  • Continuous Pain

How to Treat a Bunion Before and After It Becomes Painful?

  • Podiatrists are experts on Bunions and they don’t recommend surgery unless there is pain. Many say don’t consider surgery unless the Bunion is painful for at least one year. Almost all agree, don’t have surgery for cosmetic reasons.
  • First line of attack is to get proper fitting shoes that are wide enough not to squish your toes together. Do not wear shoes with stitching that runs along the bump. Remember you cannot correct the bunion but you can keep it from getting worse and in most cases remove the painful aspect.
  • Bunions shields, padding and splints help with pain.
  • Avoid activity that causes pain to the bunion.
  • Use an ice pack to reduce inflammation.
  • Keep your body at the proper weight.
  • Most Effective – Orthotic shoe inserts. The best ones are called Custom Orthotics or Custom Therapeutic inserts. These are made from a mold of your feet and when you tell the Pedorthist that you have bunions. They will correct any pronation qualities in your gait. Most importantly they will supply strong arch support, this will help relieve pressure felt by the Great Toe. Usually with a custom Orthotic Therapeutic shoes are recommended, they are called Ultra Depth Shoes. Meaning they are deeper allowing room for the Orthotic. Therapeutic Shoes are more stylish than ever and are priced relative to a normal shoe.

The Shoes and Orthotics Help But I Still Have Pain Sometimes.  You May Consider!

  • Oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen or Aleve, may reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Prescription strength pain relievers
  • Cortisone injections

I Can’t Take It Anymore, I Need Surgery.

  • Dr. Botek from the Cleveland Clinic says, “There are more than 150 types of bunion surgeries, but surgeons typically choose one from about a half-dozen commonly used procedures”.
  • Almost all patients are happy with the results the conflict that they can’t agree upon is the recovery. Many patients say the pain is intense or excruciating from 4 to 8 weeks. Others say that it’s only a couple weeks. Most say that they are in a Cam Walker Boot (A Walking Brace) for 6 to 8 weeks. Podiatrists and Surgeons both agree that the foot draws blood down to it, so swelling frequently postpones the wearing of normal shoes.

WebMD Recommends:  What to Expect After Surgery

  • The usual recovery period after bunion surgery is 6 weeks to 6 months, depending on the amount of soft tissue and bone affected. Complete healing may take as long as 1 year.
  • When you are showering or bathing, the foot must be kept covered to keep the stitches dry.
  • Stitches are removed after 7 to 21 days.
  • Pins that stick out of the foot are usually removed in 3 to 4 weeks. But in some cases they are left in place for up to 6 weeks.
  • Walking casts, splints, special shoes, or wooden shoes are sometimes used. Regular shoes can sometimes be worn in about 4 to 5 weeks, but some procedures require wearing special shoes for about 8 weeks after surgery. In some cases, it can be 3 to 4 months before you can wear regular shoes. Many activities can be resumed in about 6 to 8 weeks.
  • After some procedures, no weight can be put on the foot for 6 to 8 weeks. Then there are a few more weeks of partial weight-bearing with the foot in a special shoe or boot to keep the bones and soft tissues steady as they heal.

Please Share Your Story. If you have bunions please share with us, when they first started showing, when they became painful and what things helped with the pain. If you have had surgery for Bunions Please share with us, what the experience was like!

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