We rely on our feet more than most of us imagine. However, a painful foot-related problem such as bunions can serve to remind us of the importance of good foot health.
Although bunions are not a serious or permanent condition, they can cause quite a bit of discomfort. Here is more information about the cases and treatments for this painful problem.
What are Bunions?
Bunions are bony bumps which develop near the place where your big toe and foot connect. Because of the formation, your big toe actually swells up and presses against the rest of your toes which puts pressure on the joint of that toe, changes your foot’s profile and causes significant pain.
Bunions can also become a problem on the little toe as well. In either case, treatment is normally required or the pain will continue indefinitely.
What Causes Bunions?
When you walk, the forces on the joints of your feet are normally kept in balance. In some cases, however, the balance is disrupted. When that continues for years, bunions are going to develop.
In some cases, bunions can be caused by congenital birth deformities or by neuromuscular disorders, such as cerebral palsy. Most cases of bunions are the result of other causes.
There are a number of risk factors that will increase your chances of developing bunions.
For example, if you have a job which requires standing on your feet for long periods of time, you will increase your risk because of the greater amount of pressure your foot is going to endure over time.
Women who wear high heels frequently are also at higher risk because the front of the shoe is so narrow it causes toe crowding. Arthritis, a family history of bunions, poor fitting shoes, and having flatfeet can also increase your risks.
How are Bunions Treated?
Bunions can be treated in a number of different ways. If caught early enough, nonsurgical treatment methods can be tried first.
These methods might include wearing roomier shoes, taping the toe and foot into a normal position, using medication to stop the pain and to reduce inflammation, getting cortisone injections to alleviate pain, going through physical therapy such as whirlpool baths, and wearing shoe inserts.
In many cases, surgery turns out to be the best choice for treatment. Bunions are removed in this way normally as a last resort because the procedure, like all surgeries, carries some risks and because there is a chance of new bunions developing if foot health habits do not change.