BunionsNot Just Caused by Shoes
If you’ve ever heard anything about bunions, there is a good chance that you have been told they are caused by women’s footwear. While tight, pointy shoes that force weight forward onto the fronts of feet can contribute to this issue, there are other causes for the condition as well. Here at Brook Valley Podiatry, we feel that understanding the root causes is important, but it’s also worth knowing about methods of bunion treatment for these toe deformities.
This foot condition is marked by a bony bump found on the inside edge of the foot. It develops right at the base of the big toe at the joint known as the metatarsophalangeal joint (MTPJ). Essentially, bunions are formed when the big toe presses inward due to uneven pull of the tendons, toward the second toe, and causes the MTPJ to grow and stick out. As a result of this abnormal shift, the skin covering a bone might be sore and red.
There is some debate among professionals as to whether tight shoes can actually cause a bunion to develop but, at the very least, they likely worsen the condition. There are other causes as well, like foot structure, medical conditions, and physical stress.
Symptoms and Signs of Bunions
The bulging bump found at the MTPJ is a pretty clear indication of a bunion, but there are other symptoms as well:
- Swelling, soreness, and redness in the area around the affected joint
- Thickened skin at the big toe’s base
- Calluses or corns that develop where the first two toes overlap
- Either intermittent or persistent pain
- Restricted toe movement
Causes of Bunions
Experts might disagree as to the role that footwear plays in bunions, but it is certainly possible that tight, narrow shoes, especially women’s high-heeled footwear, do cause this condition. If the pressure of shifting and bearing your weight are placed unevenly on the joints, it can lead to instability in the big toe’s MTPJ. This eventually molds the tendons and other parts of the joint into a tough, hard knob that extends beyond the normal outline of the foot.
Other causes that are less debatable include inherited foot structure, foot injuries, and even congenital deformities (those present at birth). Forms of arthritis that are inflammatory, like rheumatoid arthritis, can also play a role in the development of a bunion.
It makes sense to try home remedies first to see if they relieve the pain. These include such measures as:
- The use of a non-medicated bunion pad
- Applying an ice pack or thin towel filled with ice a couple of times daily to reduce swelling
- Wearing shoes that have deep, wide toe boxes to avoid irritation
- Avoiding shoes that have high heels (greater than 2 ¼ inches)
If home remedies don’t help, you may need professional care from our office. In such a case, we may use medication, shoe inserts or custom orthotics, or padding to relieve pressure and pain. Taping your foot into a normal position might help, as could an icing or stretching regimen we prescribe for you.
In some cases, bunion surgery becomes the best option for treatment. With this procedure, our goal will generally be to return your toe to a natural position and thereby relieve the discomfort. There are various procedures that can be done, including removal of swollen tissue, removing part of the toe bone, realigning the bones to correct the angle, and fusing the affected bones together. Of course, we will discuss all options in depth, including what you can expect from recovery, if this is the course you would like to pursue.
Bunion Care in Midwood Brooklyn & Spring Valley, NY
Brook Valley Podiatry is ready to help you with your bunion problem. Whether we can handle it with conservative care or need to employ a surgical procedure, we will find you the pain relief you need. Schedule your appointment with either our Spring Valley or Midwood, Brooklyn offices by calling us at 718.434.0600 or using our online form today.