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Bunions

Nearly one-quarter of all adult Americans under the age of 65 suffer from foot bunions. These bony bumps appear on the side of the big toe joint and often cause chronic pain and discomfort. For millions who already have some mobility issues, this adds another obstacle. Fortunately, a myriad of non-invasive treatments is available to alleviate your bunion pain. And if these conservative treatments aren’t sufficient, your Clifton foot doctors at Premier Podiatry in NJ will offer other treatment options.

What Are Bunions?

Bunion, Hallux ValgusBunions, also known as hallux valgus, are the bumps that protrude from the side of your big toe. More than just a bump, bunions represent a misalignment of the bones in the front part of your foot.

Your big toe drifts toward your second toe, which forces the joint at the ball of your foot to stick out, leading to toe pain, foot pain and pain in the ball of your foot. Bunions develop gradually, and over time the deformed toes make it painful to walk, wear certain shoes and affect your mobility.

Sadly, bunions are a widespread condition. According to the research published on PubMed, approximately 23 percent of American adults aged 18 to 65 years have bunions. If you’re suffering from bunion pain, don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Velimir Petkov at the podiatry clinic in New Jersey to begin your bunion correction and start walking freely again.

What Are the Causes and Risk Factors for Bunions?

Bunions develop gradually for a variety of reasons and the exact causes of this foot condition have yet to be determined. However, there are several factors that seem to correlate with hallux valgus development. Some people are more prone to bunions because of their genes.

Contrary to popular belief, improper shoes are not the main cause. But they can increase the risk of bunions development and make the issue worse. This is especially true for women who are used to wearing shoes with pointed toes or high heels. On the other hand, some people wear tight shoes on a daily basis and never get bunions.

The most common risk factors for bunions are:

  • Genetics. Certain foot types seem to be more susceptible to bunion development.
  • Trauma. Foot injuries or heavy stress to the feet can eventually lead to bunions.
  • Congenital disabilities. Many bunion sufferers had foot deformities present at birth without seeking help from a pediatric podiatrist.
  • Gender. While men are not immune, bunions tend to appear more frequently on women.
  • Shoes. High heels push your toes into the front of the shoe, where they’re compressed together. Narrow, tight-fitting shoes cause the same problem.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis. A chronic inflammatory disorder in your joints, rheumatoid arthritis frequently leads to foot bunions.
  • Polio. Among other problems, this serious neuromuscular condition often causes bunions.

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What Are the Symptoms of Bunions?

A lot of people live with a bunion without even knowing it or with mild symptoms only. Even though hallux valgus is easily recognized by its shape and location, it can be mistaken for other conditions, such as gout, a tumor, or large wart. Bunions often increase the risk of osteoarthritis in the big toe joint leading to chronic pain. The resulting deformity might make you unsteady on your feet, increasing the likelihood of falls.

Some of the most common and distinguishing bunion symptoms are:

  • Some of the most distinguishing bunion symptoms include:
  • Chronic or intermittent pain
  • Diminished mobility of your big toe
  • A protruding bump on the side of your big toe
  • Callouses or corns that appear between your second and big toe
  • Inflammation of the toe joint

What Are My Treatment Options?

Your treatment greatly depends on the severity of your condition. Conservative treatments alleviate the vast majority of bunion pain. While these techniques won’t cure your bunions, you can achieve bunion pain relief by following your podiatrist’s instructions.

Non-invasive treatments generally entail:

  • Footwear. Choose alternative shoes that don’t scrunch your toes together. Some shoe types spread out at the toes to provide more space and relieve pressure on your toes. Your top-rated podiatrist podiatrist in Clifton, NJ Dr. Petkov educates you on proper shoe fit and type.
  • Pads. Protective padding can also provide much-needed bunion pain relief. Made from soft silicone, bunion-shield pads provide relief by cushioning the toe from the abrasion of your shoe.
  • Ice. Bunions can become swollen when you place heavy demands on your feet. Ice reduces swollen feet and promotes bunion relief. If your bunions are inflamed, ice them several times per day for up to 20 minutes.
  • Over-the-counter medications. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain relievers, such as naproxen and ibuprofen, reduce swelling and provide bunion pain relief.
  • Orthotics. Your podiatrist helps you choose the best orthotic solution for your foot bunions.

Even though conservative treatments can offer some degree of pain relief, they cannot eliminate the problem completely. A permanent solution can only be achieved with various bunion surgery procedures. Correction of the misalignment is the only way to treat the cause of your symptoms. The goal of surgical intervention is to realign your toe joint, relieve pain, and correct toe and joint deformities.

Due to a wide array of bunion types, your doctor can employ the following techniques:

  • Osteotomy. Your podiatrist realigns your bones with plates and screws. He also removes a wedge portion of bone to straighten the big toe.
  • Arthrodesis. This surgical technique treats bunions if you also have rheumatoid arthritis. Your doctor removes the arthritic surface of the joint and repairs it with screws, wires and plates.
  • Exostectomy. Rarely performed in isolation, this procedure removes the bump from your toe joint, but does not correct its alignment. Surgeons often use this technique in conjunction with an osteotomy to fix severe bunions.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Are Bunions Diagnosed?

During your initial consultation with Dr. Velimir Petkov will check whether the joint at the base of the big toe is bulging, examine the position of the toes in relation to each other and see how well they can move. The position of the legs also plays an important role, therefore, will be examined too.

An assessment is typically performed while the patient is standing, sitting, or walking. Apart from that, the state of your skin, signs of osteoarthritis, and your symptoms will be examined as well. If needed, your foot will be x-rayed in a standing position.

What Is the Prevalence of Hallux Valgus?

According to the study published by NCBI, bunions tend to appear more often in women than in men. This can be explained by the fact that women have weaker connective tissue in their feet. Also, they are more likely to wear tight, high-heeled shoes. It has been estimated that around 1 out of 3 people in the United States over the age of 65 have hallux valgus to some degree.

How To Prevent Bunions?

To prevent bunions Dr. Petkov advises wearing flat and comfortable shoes. By having enough room for the front of the foot, you decrease pressure on the toes and the ball of the foot. You can also start walking barefoot to make your foot muscles stronger and allow your feet and toes to be in their natural position. In some cases, orthopedic shoe inserts (insoles) are recommended. But there is very little research on how well this can avert bunions.

Reference List

1. National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). (2018, June 28). Bunions: Overview. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK513134/

2. National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). (2011, May 20). Epidemiology and Impact of Hallux Valgus. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3102914/

Keep in mind that bunions tend to worsen if not treated properly and in time. But you are fortunate to have access to the service of Dr. Petkov at Premier Podiatry who can accurately diagnose and develop an effective and symptoms-specific treatment plan tailored to your needs. Do not wait any longer and contact your New Jersey podiatrist to schedule your initial consultation and have your bunions evaluated.

This page was published on Dec 30, 2019, modified on Jan 19, 2021 by Velimir Petkov, DPM of Premier Podiatry

Premier Podiatry: Velimir Petkov, DPM
925 Clifton Ave, Ste 107
Clifton, NJ 07013
(973) 315-5555

DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY
The information on this website is to provide a general podiatry information. In no way does any of the information provided reflect a definitive treatment advice. It is important to consult a best in class podiatrist regarding ANY questions or issues. A thorough podiatric evaluation should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call your local foot doctor or New Jersey podiatrist Velimir Petkov, DPM, to schedule a consultation.
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