The human body is a wonderful collaboration of many different parts that each have their intended functions to perform. Your two feet are no exception. They collectively contain over sixty joints that allow you to stand, be independent, and do the things you love.
You feel fine when joints function as they should, but pain and discomfort enter the picture when parts fall out of line. Bunions are a clear example of what happens when components don’t line up like they are intended to.
Put simply, a bunion is a bump found at the joint where your big toe meets the foot (metatarsophalangeal joint). The bony bump forms as a result of your big toe angling in toward the second toe. The pressure on this particular joint forces the bone and tissue around it to increase in size and jut out to the side. With this deformity, the skin over the bump can become sore and reddened.
There is also a related condition that occurs on the outside edge of the foot known as a bunionette. With a bunionette, the same inherent situation happens, but instead of forming at the base of the big toe, it develops at the base of the small toe. The symptoms and treatment are generally quite similar to treating the more traditional bunion.
Bunion Causes and Risk Factors
In a normal, healthy foot, body weight is distributed in an even fashion across the tendons and joints found throughout the appendage. Bunions develop when this natural distribution is disrupted by an imbalance of pressure, thereby causing instability for the big toe joint and forcing the joint’s structural components to form a protrusion. This formation extends beyond the normal outline of your foot. Inherited foot shapes, injuries, and deformities present at birth might contribute to the condition.
Risk factors that may increase the likelihood of a bunion include, arthritis, heredity, certain activities, (like dancing), or ill-fitting footwear, especially shoes that are too narrow or too tight.
The most easily identifiable symptom of a bunion is simply the bulging bump found next to the metatarsal joint for your big toe on the inner edge of the foot. Additionally, there will be soreness, swelling, and redness around the joint. Corns or calluses frequently develop at the point of overlap for the big and second toes. A bunion can result in restricted movement of the toe and either intermittent or persistent pain in the area. When you experience these symptoms, it is time to schedule an appointment with Foot & Ankle Associates of Florida.
Diagnosis and Treatment Options
There are other potential causes of pain and swelling in the area, so it is important to come in for a diagnosis before effective treatment can be administered. We will examine your foot and ankle and their range of motion and discuss possible treatment options. Any redness or swelling will be noted and you may be asked when the condition started, when the pain is greatest, and if any of your other toe joints are affected. X-rays can also be used to rule out other potential ailments and to determine the severity of the bunion deformity.
Depending on the severity, conservative treatment (nonsurgical methods) might be an effective option. These treatments may include - shoe inserts, medication, ice, padding and taping or splinting your foot into a natural position, and changing footwear to a more comfortable style, (roomy shoes that offer ample space for your toes and decrease pressure on your bunion).
In some bunion cases, surgery might become the best option when conservative methods do not work. This may entail removing swollen tissue, realigning the long tarsal bone with your big toe, and joint fusion or replacement. Surgical intervention becomes an option when a bunion interferes with your daily activity or causes frequent pain.
The risk of developing a bunion can be decreased by choosing footwear that is comfortable, offers a roomy toe box, and conforms to the shape of your foot without needing any part to be squeezed or pressed in an unnatural fashion.
When you’re tired of the pain and discomfort caused by a bunion, request an appointment with Foot & Ankle Associates of Florida. We have a team of experienced, skilled medical professionals and five convenient offices in Altamonte Springs, Lake Mary, Kissimmee, Tavares, and Orlando to serve you. Request your appointment online today, or give us a call at 407-339-7759 or 352-589-9550 (for Lake County) and our friendly staff will be happy to help!