A bunion, also known as hallux valgus, is a bony bump that forms on the big toe joint. They develop over time when pressure on the big toe joint causes the big toe to curve toward the smaller toes and the joint to stick out. According to Mayo Clinic, small bunions, or bunionettes, can also develop on the joint of your little toe.
Who Can Get Bunions and What Causes Them?
Anyone can develop bunions, however, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) notes they are more common in women because of tighter and narrower shoes that squeeze the toes. Some causes may include:
- Certain foot shapes and structures
- Wearing the wrong size or poorly fitting shoes
- Having inflammatory conditions such as arthritis
What are the Symptoms?
The visible bump on the big toe or the bump on the little toe for bunionettes, are key symptoms. Other indicators include:
- Redness and inflammation
- Pain and tenderness
- Stiffness and limited movement in the big toe
- Difficulty walking
- Callus on the bump
What are the Treatment Options?
There are both nonsurgical and surgical treatment options for bunions. Nonsurgical treatment cannot eliminate a bunion but can help lessen discomfort and stop the progression.
Non-surgical treatment options include:
- Toe Spacers, splints, or orthotics
- Properly fitting footwear
If non-surgical treatment options do not lessen pain over time, surgical options may be needed. A bunionectomy is a common surgical procedure to remove a bunion.
What Does Recovery After Surgery Look Like?
Having a successful surgery outcome is connected with how well you follow your surgeon’s instructions afterward. You will also have check-ins post-surgery to make sure you are healing correctly.
Some tips on maximizing your recovery are as follows:
- Keeping your wound and bandages dry
- Keep your foot elevated for the first few days to relieve swelling
- Adhere to your doctor and physical therapist’s instructions on bearing weight, shoewear, and exercises
- Contact your doctor if signs of infection occur (fever, chills, “sunburn” type pain, swelling in the calf)
What if I think I Have a Bunion?
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or suspect you may have a bunion that is affecting your daily activities, consider requesting an appointment with one of our foot and ankle specialists here at DMOS.
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