What is a bunion?

You know the telltale bump on the outside of the big toe that makes wearing shoes so difficult. The bony protrusion, caused by the joint at the base of the big toe moving out of place, gets a lot of friction from shoes and a lot of pressure from bearing weight, which creates pain both inside and out. At Advanced Foot & Ankle Care, we want our patients to be informed about the causes and treatments of this common complaint.
Bunion Causes
A bunion is actually the result of a bone deformity. First, the joint at the base of the big toe begins to move out of place due to an imbalance in the weight distribution on the joints and tendons. The big toe drifts toward the second toe, eventually causing the bump on the side of the toe. Although bunions themselves are not hereditary, the faulty foot structure that causes the misalignment of the toe bone can be genetic. Other causes of bunions are an injury and arthritis.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Although a bunion is readily visible, our podiatrist, Dr. Paul Betschart, may order an x-ray to see the degree of deformity and how far the bunion has progressed. Once the bunion has been evaluated, a treatment plan can be determined that is right for you. There are several conservative measures the foot doctor can use, including:
• Icing-to relieve inflammation and pain
• Medications-nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen may be prescribed for pain relief
• Padding-placed over the bunion to help protect it and reduce friction from footwear
• Orthotics-inserted into shoes can help correct mechanical defects and shift pressure off the affected joints
Your footwear choices can also make a big difference in your comfort level. Choose shoes with roomy toe boxes and low heels to minimize pain and pressure. For more information on how to treat a bunion, contact our Danbury or Middlebury office for an appointment. 203 791-0466

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