If you have a bony bump at the base of your big toe, don’t ignore it — it could be a bunion. Without treatment, what starts as a minor annoyance can turn into chronic pain, making it difficult to walk or even wear shoes. The team at Ankle & Foot Specialist of N.J. can help you treat a bunion and prevent it from getting worse. For your convenience, there are five New Jersey offices, in Warren, Woodbridge, South Plainfield, Hillsborough, and East Brunswick. To schedule an appointment with Pragnesh Patel, DPM, or Jyotsna Thapar, DPM, call the nearest office or use the online booking tool.
A bunion is an abnormal bump in your big toe joint. When you have a bunion, you may notice that the inside of the base of your big toe is red, swollen, and sore.
Your big toe is supposed to point straight ahead. With a bunion, the tip of your big toe points outward and puts pressure on your second toe.
Bunions develop slowly. At first, your big toe joint sticks out a little, and you may be able to ignore the discomfort. As a bunion gets worse, your second toe may become misaligned begin to put pressure on your third toe. When left untreated, bunions can cause significant foot deformities and chronic pain.
Bunions usually develop due to a combination of genetics and footwear. Some people are born with flat feet, a big toe that’s naturally crooked, or a long second toe. These inherited foot structures make you more likely to develop a bunion, but you’re not guaranteed to develop them. Bunions tend to form when your footwear crowds your toes.
Bunions are more common among women than men. There’s no biological reason for this. It’s simply because of fashionable women’s shoe styles, like high heels and stilettos, that force your toes into a small space.
Anyone can develop bunions, regardless of gender or foot structure. If your shoes are too small or tight, no matter what kind of shoes they are, they can contribute to bunions.
Treatment for bunions depends on how advanced the bunions are. Ideally, you should seek treatment as soon as you see the signs of a bunion, even if it’s not painful.
Early on, you can stop bunions from progressing by changing your footwear. If you continue to wear tight shoes that put pressure on the bunion, it will continue to worsen.
You may need to wear shoes that have a large enough toe box to accommodate your toes. Your doctor may recommend custom-made orthotics (shoe inserts) to fix the alignment of your toes and relieve pressure on the bunion.
If your bunion causes you discomfort, your doctor may prescribe or recommend anti-inflammatories or pain medication in addition to changing your footwear.
In more advanced cases, where there’s significant deformity, inflammation, or pain, you may need surgery to correct the bunion. Surgery is the only way to actually fix a bunion, as opposed to managing the pain and preventing the deformity from getting worse. Thankfully, bunions usually respond to conservative treatment if you seek treatment from a podiatrist early on.
Don’t ignore the signs of a bunion. Schedule an appointment at Ankle & Foot Specialist of N.J. online or over the phone today.