Bunions can be painful, especially when walking. In some cases, the pain can be enough to keep you from walking comfortably. In most cases, bunions can be treated without surgery. These treatments generally relieve the pain and discomfort and do not actually correct the bunion.
If the pain is too great to be relieved by treatments, you will need bunion surgery.
Just what is a bunion? A bunion is a misalignment of the big toe, when the toe is pressed against the other toes. This can force the joint on the big toe in the opposite direction. This misalignment, over time, can cause enlargement of the joint, crowding the other toes, and causing pain.
Bunions can be caused by uneven pressure on the tendons and the joints in the feet. This causes instability in the big toe joint. They can be caused by high-heeled shoes, ill fitting shoes, or pointed shoes.
Symptoms of bunions include a bump on the outside of the big toe, at the base. Redness, swelling, and soreness around the joint are also common.
Calluses and thickening of the skin can occur at the base of the toe, and where the toes overlap due to misalignment.
The misalignment of the big toe, can also force the other toes into abnormal positions, causing a condition called hammertoe.
Often, you will not need any medical treatment, but you should see a doctor if you are experiencing persistent pain, decreased mobility of the big toe, or a visible bump on the big toe joint. Often, the doctor will be able to treat the symptoms without surgery.
In some cases, the doctor will advise new shoes with plenty of space for the toes. Inserts, which will distribute pressure more evenly on the feet, may be advised, as well. The doctor may also help you tape the feet and pad them in a normal position, to alleviate the condition.
In some cases, though, treatment is not enough, and you will need bunion surgery.
It can take several forms, depending on the cause of the bunion, and the bunion itself. Surgical options may involve removing the swollen tissue from around the joint or removal of a part of the bone in order to straighten the toe. Sometimes the surgery will involve realignment of the toe, or even fusing the bones together.
In some cases, you can begin walking immediately after the bunions surgery. Full recovery, however, may take up to eight weeks. With some procedures, though, bunion surgery recovery may take longer. After you recover from your surgery, you will need to wear proper shoes to prevent bunions from recurring.
It is best to prevent bunions in the first place. Wear shoes with plenty of room for your toes that do not cramp the toes. If you already have bunions, however, see a doctor for treatment.
Often the doctor can alleviate the pain through pain medication, or proper padding of the foot, to help realign the toes. If treatment fails to relieve the pain, then you will probably need a surgery.