What is a bunion?

A bunion is a foot deformity that is characterized by a deviation of the big toe towards the second toe. Aside from the aesthetic aspect of the problem, a bunion can create difficulty to wear shoes and be quite painful. Bunions, as they get larger, can create pain underneath the foot or on the side of the foot.

What causes a bunion?

Contrary to common belief, bunions are not caused by wearing high heels or shoes that are too tight. Obviously, high heels or tight shoes make the bunion worse, but they are not the source of the problem. A bunion is caused by a mechanical defect in the foot causing the big toe to have a tendency to move inwards towards the second toe. It is important to have your feet checked out if you have a bunion, even if it is not causing any pain, because the bunion is a sign that there are underlying issues with the mechanics of your foot, ankle, knees and hips.  

How to treat a bunion?

First of all, it is important to know that the best treatment for bunion is to prevent the bunion from appearing or getting bigger. Indeed, there are limited options to make your bunion smaller.

1. Treating the cause of your bunion

Bunions are caused by a mechanical defect in your foot. Your podiatrist is trained to evaluate and establish the exact cause of your bunion. After determining the mechanical cause of your bunion, your podiatrist can prescribe and make a custom-made plantar orthotic to treat it. By directly treating the cause of your bunion, your podiatrist is able to reduce to pain associated with your bunion and to prevent it from getting bigger.

2. Reducing your bunion pain

Aside from treating the cause of your bunion, your podiatrist can also treat the pain associated with it. As the bunion becomes more deviated, the big toe joint will be more damaged and create pain when walking. By using diagnosis ultrasound, your podiatrist can visualize the condition of your big toe joint and perform an ultrasound-guided cortisone injection to relieve you from your bunion pain. Your podiatrist can also utilize sport tapping to temporarily relieve your big toe joint from the excessive pressure caused by your bunion.

3. Bunion surgery

The only way to reduce the appearance of your bunion is to have it surgically corrected. A bunion surgery consists of breaking and realigning your big toe bone with the rest of your foot. It is to note that even though a surgery corrects the aesthetic part of the bunion, it cannot completely correct the mechanical defect that has caused your bunion in the first place. Hence it is important to wear a custom-made plantar orthotic afterward to treat the mechanical defect and prevent your bunion from appearing again.

How to treat a bunion at home?

While waiting for your podiatric consultation, you can relieve your pain at home by following these steps:

Changing your shoes

It is important wear shoes that are not causing any friction on your bunion as any excessive friction on a bunion can create pain. It is also best to wear shoes that have more arch support in order to stabilize your foot’s mechanics as much as possible.

Wear toe separators

Although toe separators do not prevent the bunion from getting bigger, nor do they realign your bunion, they help reduce the friction between your big toe and your second toe.

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