Bunions — those bony protrusions at the base of your big toe — are progressive, and before too long, they can cause quite a lot of pain and discomfort for such seemingly small problems. In fact, when they’re inflamed, even a brush with a bedsheet can cause teeth-clenching pain, never mind donning a pair of shoes.
At Apple Podiatry Group, under the expert leadership of podiatrists Jarna Rathod-Bhatt and Rahul Bhatt, we help our patients in Arlington and Irving, Texas, navigate foot problems of all kinds. Among the more common complaints are developing bunions that cause moderate-to-severe pain, limiting your life in many surprising ways.
But if the thought of surgery to correct the problem doesn’t appeal to you, plenty of nonsurgical techniques can help keep painful bunions at bay. Here’s a look at five of those techniques.
1. In the shoes
We might as well start with the giant elephant(s) in the room — your shoes. The leading contributor to the formation of bunions is wearing tight, pointy-toed shoes that cram your toes together, creating an imbalance and misalignment in your joints, namely your metatarsophalangeal joint.
Your feet are incredibly complex, and they rely on each and every component to pull its weight when it comes to supporting your body while also providing mobility and balance. By throwing this balance off with ill-fitting footwear, you create the perfect opportunity for bunions to form.
So, at the first sign of a developing bunion, you’d do well to quickly swap out your shoes for ones that give your toes and joints enough room to do their job well.
2. Customize it
As we mentioned, your feet need all of their components to work together, so if you place too much stress on any one area, it can offset the entire structure. Through custom orthotics, we can spread out the workload properly, ensuring that no single area is overly taxed. Through custom orthotics, we can often halt the progression of your bunions and relieve your pain.
And since these inserts are manufactured to your specifications and goals, you can be sure that your custom orthotics are delivering exactly what your feet need.
3. Strapping and taping
If your big toe seems intent on migrating toward your second toe, there’s much we can do to stop this progression through strapping and taping. By holding your big toe in its correct position, we can prevent, or at least slow down, the shifting in your bones that lead to painful bunions.
4. Tackling inflammation
When bunions become painful, it’s largely due to inflammation that causes excess friction. In order to tackle the inflammation, we recommend nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications. If your bunion resists these medications, we can turn to steroid injections, which work quickly to reduce the pain and inflammation in your bunion.
5. Keeping it cold
While it may not seem terribly advanced, icing your bunions when they act up is incredibly effective. The intense cold not only numbs your pain, but it keeps swelling and inflammation to a minimum. The good news is that this therapy is very easy — simply apply an ice pack to the area for 5-10 minutes at a time throughout the day.
With some proactive care, you can relieve your bunion pain and avoid surgery altogether. To get started, please give us a call or use the online scheduling tool to set up an appointment at one of our two locations.