Bunions: Causes, Symptoms, and Surgical and Non-Surgical Treatment Options

Bunions: Causes, Symptoms, and Surgical and Non-Surgical Treatment Options

Bunions are bony protrusions on the side of the foot near the base of the big toe. They often cause pain and discomfort throughout the day due to friction from the interior of the shoes rubbing against the bunions and causing inflammation. The good news is there are several surgical and non-surgical options for treating bunions. The experienced podiatrists at Family Foot & Ankle Care in Chandler, AZ, treat bunions and can help with pain relief.

Causes and Symptoms of Bunions

A bunion is actually a bone deformity in which the metatarsophalangeal joint at the base of the big toe becomes enlarged, often because the toe has shifted out of place. As the big toe slants toward the smaller ones, the bony end of the joint slants the opposite way and presses against the side of the foot. The hard, bony protrusion is called a bunion.

Several factors can cause the big toe to move out of place and result in the formation of a bunion. Factors that increase the risk of developing bunions include:

  • Wearing shoes that are narrow or tight, such as high heels
  • A structural problem in the foot
  • An injury to the big toe or foot
  • Arthritis or other health conditions

A wide range of symptoms can develop in conjunction with a bunion, including:

  • Limited mobility or stiffness of the big toe
  • Inflammation and redness around the big toe and joint
  • Pain, tenderness, or discomfort of the big toe or foot
  • A hard bump on the side of the foot at the base of the big toe
  • Calluses or corns where the toes rub together

Non-Surgical Treatments for Bunions

Bunions do not heal on their own so it is necessary to seek treatment. Left untreated, bunions can become more painful over time and lead to the development of other foot problems, such as hammertoe.

Several non-surgical options are available for reducing inflammation, pain, and discomfort. At our podiatry practice in Chandler, AZ, bunions can be treated with any of the following non-surgical methods:

  • Placing special cushioning or padding inside the shoes to minimize friction
  • A custom orthotic device to correct foot positioning and stabilize the toe joint
  • Foot exercises to improve joint function and mobility, and prevent stiffness
  • Wearing a splint at night while sleeping to realign the dislocated toe joint
  • Selecting shoes with enough room to accommodate the bunion
  • Removal of corns or calluses on the toes

Surgical Treatments for Bunions

When more conservative treatment methods have not provided a satisfactory level of relief from bunion pain and discomfort, surgical options might be needed. One type of surgery is known as a bunionectomy and involves the removal of the bunion. Another surgical approach is to realign the dislocated metatarsophalangeal toe joint. Our skilled podiatrists will determine if and when bunion surgery is needed.

If you are struggling with bunion pain and discomfort, we can help. Schedule an appointment with one of our knowledgeable podiatrists to discuss the different options for treating your bunions by calling Family Foot & Ankle Care in Chandler, AZ, at (480) 732-0033.