A bunion is a bony bump that can develop on the outer base of the big toe. It is a result of the joint and tissue moving out of place. There is a marked deformity on the big toe along the inside of the foot.
Also called hallux valgus, bunions can be so painful and enlarged that they cause balance problems. Bunions typically develop slowly, and the pressure on the big toe eventually affects the second toe – and makes it painful to walk or wear shoes.
To relieve bunion pain, custom orthotics created by an orthopedic doctor are usually recommended.
What Causes Bunions?
There is no precise known cause of bunions, although there tend to be several factors that can cause a person to develop a bunion or for a bunion to become worse. Some of these factors are:
- Inherited foot type/shape
- A congenital deformity in the foot
- Foot stress
- Foot injury
- Musculoskeletal conditions
Bunions also run in families. One estimate is that almost 85% of people with bunions have someone else in the family (blood-related) who has the same problem. People with flat feet or low arches are more prone to bunion development than are those whose arch shape is more normal.
Women tend to be more prone to developing bunions than are men. The reason for this appears to be that women are more likely to wear tight and narrow shoes, such as heels and boots. Improper footwear can contribute to bunion development or worsen bunions.
People who have gout, rheumatoid arthritis, or neuromuscular disease tend to have a higher tendency to develop bunions. These medical conditions cause a stiffening of the joints, which is what likely can lead to the development of bunions in these cases.
Can Bunions Be Treated?
Yes, and the way in which a bunion is treated depends on the severity of your bunion. Pain-relief medication, ice therapy, heat therapy, changing into roomier shoes, and using bunion pads to serve as a cushion between your foot and shoe can all help to ease the pain of bunions.
An orthopedic doctor can create custom orthotics for you to help ease the painful and debilitating symptoms. Unlike general orthotic inserts, prescription orthotics are specially made for your feet in order to address the specific issues caused by your bunions – or issues such as flat arches which might be making the condition worse.
However, if your bunion does not respond to conservative treatment methods, your doctor may recommend surgery. This may be necessary if the bunion is interfering with your daily activities, causing chronic and intense pain, or causing mobility problems.
Foot Doctors in Central Maryland
At the Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland Foot & Ankle Care, we can create customized solutions in the form of custom orthotics to effectively address the symptoms that accompany bunions.
Our experienced podiatrists and orthopedic specialists can see you in our Catonsville, Columbia, or Eldersburg clinics. We offer on-site orthotics fittings for your convenience.
To schedule a consultation, contact our friendly team today by calling us at (410) 644-1880 or (855) 4MD-BONE (463-2663), or request an appointment online now. We look forward to helping you get back in step!