If you have arthritis, frequently wear tight fitting shoes such as high heels, and are older in age, it’s very likely that you may develop a bunion. A bony hump at the base of the big toe is the biggest sign that you may have developed this condition. Bunions are often painful and typically cause an extreme amount of discomfort. Because a bunion protrudes on the side of the foot, it’s likely for it to continuously rub against the inside of your shoe. This causes frequent friction and pain, which may cause calluses to form as well.
Bunions are most commonly formed in people who are already genetically predisposed to them or other kinds of bone displacements. Existing bunions can be worsened by wearing improperly fitting shoes. Trying to cram your feet into high heels or running or walking in a way that causes too much stress on the feet can exacerbate bunion development. High heels not only push the big toe inward, but shift one's body weight and center of gravity towards the edge of the feet and toes, expediting bone displacement.
A podiatrist knowledgeable in foot structure and biomechanics will be able to quickly diagnose bunions. Bunions must be distinguished from gout or arthritic conditions, so blood tests may be necessary. The podiatrist may order a radiological exam to provide an image of the bone structure. If the x-ray demonstrates an enlargement of the joint near the base of the toe and a shifting toward the smaller toes, this is indicative of a bunion.
There are a number of ways to help alleviate discomfort if you’re experiencing pain due to having a bunion. To begin, it’s important that you maintain a healthy body weight in order to lessen the pressure put on your feet. Icing and warming the affected area may also help ease pain, as well as wearing wider-set footwear to avoid friction between your shoe and bunion. Some patients have also found shoe inserts to be extremely helpful for correcting the position of the foot. In more serious cases where the pain is severe, a podiatrist may recommend surgery for treating the bunion.
If you would like more information on how to best treat your bunion, we recommend you consult with a podiatrist as soon as possible for professional care and a proper diagnosis.