If you are suffering from bunions, you know how uncomfortable they can be. Causing friction and pain, these protrusions on the side of your big toe make wearing shoes unpleasant, and may cause you embarrassment when barefoot or in sandals.
Fortunately, bunions can be treated, but prevention is always best. At Norridge Foot Clinic in Norridge, IL, our podiatrists can help you keep bunions from forming, and help reduce the pain of those that have already occurred.
What causes a bunion?
A bunion occurs when a joint on the big toe becomes displaced and enlarged, causing your shoes to be tighter around the bump. This puts pressure on the toe and the friction can cause pain, blisters, and redness. Bunions can also bend in direction of your other toes, causing further discomfort and irritation. Left untreated, bunions may lead to hammertoes, arthritis, and even difficulty walking.
How can I prevent bunions?
Most important in preventing bunions is choosing proper footwear. Shoes that are narrow, too small, pointy toed or otherwise ill fitting can cause bunions to grow and progressively worsen. A bunion can also result from foot injuries, so you should consult your podiatrist at our Norridge office if you suffer any trauma to your foot. If you have naturally flat feet, you may be more susceptible to bunions. Ask your podiatrist at our Norridge office about the best shoes for flat feet.
How can I treat my bunions?
Bunions won't go away on their own, so it is important to work with your podiatrist to effectively treat them early on. Non-surgical treatments won't reduce the size of your bunion, but they can provide you with relief and lessened irritation.
Choosing properly fitted, cushioned shoes is the first step—narrow, tight shoes will only worsen your bunions. You can try padding in your shoes to minimize friction, or orthotic devices to help keep your foot in proper position. Your podiatrist at our Norridge office may also recommend wearing splints while you sleep to help with joint alignment.
If your bunions are severe, they may require surgical intervention to remove the bunion, followed by a toe realignment.
Treatment for bunions
Don't let bunions distress your feet. Call your podiatrist in Norridge today at (773) 625-2211.
- Trauma or injury to the foot, damaging the nerve and resulting in swelling.
- Improper footwear, like shoes that squeeze the foot together. High heels also increase pressure on the vulnerable areas.
- Recurring stress to the feet through repeated physical activities or exercise. This is common with patients who are constantly on their feet due to their job.
- Deformities of the foot, like a high arch or flat foot. These lead to instability throughout the foot.
- Taping and padding: This is a special type of tape and bandages that you place on the bottom of the foot. This helps with your symptoms.
- Orthotics: These are the custom shoes that your podiatrist can create for you.
- Medication: Cortisone injections reduce the pain and inflammation in the foot. Anti-inflammatory drugs also reduce your swelling.
- Surgery is the last resort for treatment. The procedure is done on an outpatient basis. The injured nerve is removed and recovery takes a few weeks.
- Running requires shoes with shock absorption. Your feet take on a lot of pressure and friction. Cushioning your shoes in the correct areas keeps you from feeling the pain.
- Traction is important in sports that need quick changes in direction and sprinting, like basketball. Traction should never be too high or low. The right shoes keep you from slipping on the floor while letting you move and pivot.
- Ankle support is a must. It limits the side-to-side movement that knocks your ankle out of alignment. This kind of support keeps ankle sprains at bay. For sports like basketball, hockey, skiing, and skating, make sure that your shoes aren’t too high. Otherwise, they will dig into your Achilles tendon. You can also wear soft ankle braces.
- Arch support varies for everyone. Your podiatrist can test your foot to determine your gait. Depending on the results, your podiatrist can recommend orthotics or special shoe inserts.
The arches of the feet play a role in supporting your body’s weight when standing or in motion. The tarsal and metatarsal bones make up the arches of the feet, also receiving additional support and stability from tendons and ligaments; however, our feet, like the rest of our body, can be affected by infections, disorders, and structural changes that can impact not only the health of our feet but also our mobility. It’s important to recognize the warning signs of arch problems so you know when you to see a podiatrist.
Arch Pain Causes
If you are dealing with arch pain it is most likely caused by an injury or by structural abnormalities in the foot. For example, those with very high arches as well as those with flat feet may experience arch problems due to these common structural issues.
As a result, there are other factors that could also lead to further arch problems including:
- Being overweight or obese
- Plantar fasciitis
- Cavus foot
- Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction
It’s important to understand a little bit more about these common foot disorders and how they could affect the arches of your feet.
This condition that causes inflammation and microtears in the plantar fascia is also the most common cause of heel pain. Of course, because the plantar fascia (a ligament that connects the toes to the heel bone) also supports the arches of the feet this can also lead to arch pain. This condition is usually the result of overuse and is seen most often in runners. If you have plantar fasciitis it’s important to avoid physical activities until the fascia has fully healed.
This condition, which affects the structure of the foot, leads to excessively high arches. People who’ve had a stroke, as well as people with certain conditions such as cerebral palsy may be more likely to develop cavus foot. This problem causes arch pain when standing or walking and can increase the risk for ankle injuries. Your podiatrist may choose to treat cavus foot through custom-made orthotics (shoe inserts), bracing, or by recommending specialized and supportive footwear.
Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction
The posterior tibial tendon runs from the calf muscles to the inner portion of the foot. This condition leads to changes in the tendon, which in turn affects its ability to support the arches of the foot. Flat feet can be caused by posterior tibial tendon dysfunction, and this is often the cause of flat feet that develop in adulthood. Like the other conditions above, treatment for PTTD usually involves bracing, orthotics, or providing custom devices that provide additional support to the arches of the feet.
If you are experiencing foot pain, swelling or other problems that affect mobility then it’s time that you turned to a podiatrist for care. Conditions and injuries that don’t respond to rest and at-home care may require more advanced treatments and therapies.
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