Bunions affect millions of people, becoming more common — and more painful — with age. Without treatment, bunions can cause a lot of pain, making it hard to do the activities you enjoy.
Fortunately, medical treatment can help — and there are things you can do to reduce your symptoms too. At Apple Podiatry Group, with four Texas locations, Jarna Rathod-Bhatt, DPM, and Rahul Bhatt, DPM, help our patients find relief from painful bunions.
In this post, learn how they can help you.
Quick facts about bunions
Bunions are lumps or bumps that form when the base of your big toe joint moves out of normal alignment. The bulge that results on the side of your foot is the end of the bone that makes up the lower joint of the big toe.
Bunions happen for different reasons. Some people develop bunions because of an inherited walking pattern (gait) or foot shape. Others develop them after an injury or as a symptom of another medical problem, like rheumatoid arthritis.
Wearing pointy shoes and high heels can exacerbate the pain of a bunion and cause the bunion to worsen over time.
Regardless of how a bunion forms, every bunion needs to be medically evaluated — including smaller bunions that don’t cause pain. That’s because bunions are progressive and can steadily grow worse without proper treatment.
Bunion care tips
Certainly, one of the best ways to prevent a bunion from getting worse is to see your podiatrist as early as possible. Bunions tend to respond better with early treatment, while the toe joint is still flexible.
In addition, these simple tips can help you find bunion relief on your own.
Wear the right shoes
Choose shoes with plenty of wiggle room in the toes, and avoid pointy shoes entirely. Opt for shoes with low rather than high heels, which can worsen symptoms. Finally, make sure your shoes have plenty of arch support to relieve pressure on your toes.
Use corn or callus pads
Bunions often cause corns or calluses where the bunion rubs against your shoes. Sometimes, corns form on neighboring toes that wind up getting pushed out of alignment. Using corn or callus pads helps reduce friction and relieve pain.
Invest in orthotics
Custom orthotics are special shoe inserts designed for your foot shape and needs. Orthotics redistribute your weight, relieve pressure on your bunions, and offer extra padding and support. Orthotics are available for all types of footwear, including dress shoes and athletic shoes.
Give yourself a massage
For mild bunions, massaging the big toe joint helps prevent it from becoming stiff and inflexible. Plus, regular massage reduces inflammation that can lead to more pain.
Toe and foot exercises reduce inflammation while strengthening support muscles in your foot. Try picking up sticks with your toes or pointing and curling your toes to improve circulation too.
Ask about splints and taping
Toe splints and taping offer temporary support for your toes, easing them into proper alignment. Taping may be used during daily routines, while splints typically are reserved for nighttime use.
Use ice and NSAIDs
Applying an ice pack and taking over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, help relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Using ice also lets you put your feet up and take the pressure off your bunions.
Help for your bunions
In their earliest stages, bunions may not cause a lot of symptoms — but they still need to be evaluated. Without prompt treatment, bunions can worsen over time, leading to complications that require surgery to correct.
To learn how we can help you find relief for your bunions, request an appointment online or over the phone at one of our Apple Podiatry Group locations in Arlington, Fort Worth, or Flower Mound, Texas.