A bunion is a bony bump that can form at the base of your big or little toe. Sometimes a bunion’s signature protrusion is made up of fused bone, but it often includes excess or inflamed tissue. When you have a bunion, the deformation of the bone and joint may start to bend the affected toe out of alignment.
While anyone can get a bunion, they’re most likely to occur in people who regularly wear tight-fitting shoes, such as high heels or stilettos. In older adults, bunions may also be exacerbated by arthritis. Either way, bunions aren’t fun—they’re unsightly, unpleasant, and almost always painful.
Strategies for Self-Care
If you have a bunion, your first course of action should be keeping your feet as far away from close-fitting, cramped shoes as you possibly can. You can also try some of the following treatments:
- Buy a generic or custom gel insole, which can help correct posture and alleviate the pressure on a bunion
- Try a smaller gel patch moleskin, which will only cover the bunion and area surrounding it
- Wear a removable splint at night, under the guidance of an experienced podiatrist
- Use anti-inflammatory medications
- Try home treatments to relieve pain, like ice packs and warm baths
In less severe cases, you may be able to treat a bunion on your own. One way or another, you may still want to consult a podiatrist to ensure your remedies are actually effective.
Surgical Treatment Options
Unfortunately, not every bunion can be treated at home or by a one-stop visit to your podiatrist. If your bunion is very painful or is greatly affecting your mobility, then you may have to consider surgery.
When it comes to bunions, there are three different kinds of procedures:
- Bunion osteotomies where your podiatrist will make small incisions around the affected joint, realign it, and then hold it in place with tiny screws, pins, or plates
- Bunion arthrodesis where portions of a damaged joint will be replaced with specialized components. This is most common for patients with arthritis
- Bunion exostectomies where your podiatrist removes the bunion altogether
If you have a suspicious bump or swelling—or an obvious bunion accompanied by constant pain—then it’s time to visit a podiatrist to discuss your best treatment options. Contact us today.