Bunions are a common problem among women, and they can be painful part of everyday life. A bunion is a growth on the big toe near the base where it connects with the foot. The growth is due to soft tissue enlargement under the skin.
Women frequently develop bunions either from wearing shoes that do not fit properly, or from high heels that actually do fit well. There are other causes of bunions, such as heredity and poor foot structure.
Even though bunions are a common foot deformity, there are misconceptions about them. Many people may unnecessarily suffer the pain of bunions for years before seeking treatment.
What is a Bunion?
Bunions are a progressive disorder. They begin with a leaning of the big toe, gradually changing the angle of the bones over the years and slowly producing the characteristic bump, which becomes increasingly prominent. Symptoms usually appear at later stages, although some people never have symptoms.
Bunions are most often caused by an inherited faulty mechanical structure of the foot. It is not the bunion itself that is inherited, but certain foot types that make a person prone to developing a bunion.
Although wearing shoes that crowd the toes won’t actually cause bunions, it sometimes makes the deformity get progressively worse. Symptoms occur most often when wearing shoes that crowd the toes, such as shoes with a tight toe box or high heels. This may explain why women are more likely to have symptoms than men. In addition, spending long periods of time on your feet can aggravate the symptoms of bunions. Symptoms may therefore appear sooner
Symptoms, which occur at the site of the bunion, may include:
- Pain or soreness
- Inflammation and redness
- A burning sensation
- Possible numbness
Some of the common ways bunions can be treated are:
- Bunion pads – Bunion pads can help relieve pressure on the sensitive area. Your Santa Fe podiatrist will be able to recommend the correct pad for your bunion.
- Moleskin – A moleskin patch covers the bunion and pressure areas. This protects the bunion from being rubbed by shoes, which can result in blisters and other complications.
- Wide shoes – Wearing shoes that have a wide toe box will provide room for the area around the toes. Tight, narrow, or high-heeled shoes put pressure on the bunion, which causes pain.
- Medications – Medication can be used to alleviate some of the pain and swelling that is associated with bunions.
- Ice – As with other injuries, icing the area can relieve pain and reduce the swelling. Ice can be applied to the joint for 10-20 minutes at a time. The foot should be elevated higher than the heart while icing.
- Surgery – May be necessary when bunion pain is intolerable, or affects your ability to wear shoes.
If you are experiencing bunions or other foot conditions, you need to seek the help of a knowledgeable foot and ankle specialist at ACE Foot and Ankle Medical Center. Call 408-203-3821 today to schedule your appointment.