Bunions are the foot deformity that causes the joint at the base of the big toe to bulge outwards. The condition is characterized as a lateral deviation of the metatarsophalangeal joint and the inward deviation of the big toe.
There is no abnormal tissue or tumor growth in bunions, the protruding bump comprises mostly of the head of the first metatarsal bone.
Causes of Bunions
The exact cause of bunions is still unknown. Using improper footwear can be one of the cause: a study shows that people in countries that regularly wear shoes such as in western countries have a higher incidence of bunions.
On the other hand, people in Asian countries mostly use sandals and were found to be less prone to develop bunions. This could also be the main cause of hereditary bunions due to decades of wearing shoes. The supporting structures of the feet seem to weaken, leading to this foot condition.
Women are particularly prone to bunions due to chronic use of ill-fitting shoes like tight pointy high-heeled shoes. people who have leg length discrepancies, previous foot injuries, and arthritis can form bunions.
Signs and Symptoms
An obvious sign of a bunion is a bump at the joint at the base of the big toe. A bump can also form at the base of the joint of the small toe, and this type of bunion is called a tailors bunion.
In most cases, bunions don’t cause any problems but if they do, they can cause mild to severe foot pain.
pain is typically the reason why most patients seek medical attention for bunions. But once a patient already experiences pain, it is most likely irreversible and pain management can only be done.
This is the reason why preventive measures are very important. Once you suspect that you have a bunion or if you have a family history of bunions, seek advice from a podiatrist. It is important to know that a bunion is a progressive condition. This means that the bunion will slowly but surely get worse through time.
Wearing improper footwear will hasten the progression of a bunion and wearing perfectly fitting shoes or shoes with wide toe boxes can slow down or even stop the progression of a bunion.
A bunion isn’t anything terrible and it’s not caused from doing anything wrong. Wearing inappropriate shoes can make bunions worse or can cause you to feel the symptoms of a bunion earlier, but they don’t actually cause bunions.
Often a bunion is inherited. We inherit our foot shape and type just like we inherit eye color or the shape of your nose. Our foot shape and type can make us prone to developing bunions, so it is not actually the bunion that is inherited, the but the type of foot you have inherited that makes you more prone to the disorder.
It is easy to tell if you have a bunion since you can actually see the bunion on the side of the foot or the base of the big toe. It is a progressive disorder, meaning the changes in your foot are gradual and over the years, the bunion becomes worse and increasingly noticeable.
It is usually apparent, since the prominence of the bunion is quite obvious. However, you still need to be evaluated by a podiatrist. Since bunions are progressive, they will not just go away on their own but continue to get worse, some more quickly than others.
Something most people don’t know is that a bunion doesn’t always cause pain. Some people never even have symptoms. If they do, they usually don’t appear until the later stages of the disorder. If you do you have pain with a bunion it is usually brought on by wearing shoes that cramp the toes.
If that happens, you may have pain or soreness, which sometimes restricts movement of the toe, at the sight of the bunion. you may even have sores between your toes or calluses on your big toe.
you may have a burning feeling at the bunion site after you put pressure on it or have ingrown toenails on the big toe. Some people even experience numbness, but that is usually in more serious cases.
Women are more likely to have these symptoms than men. This may be because women wear high heels, which typically have a tight toe box and cramp the toes.
Ways To Relieve The Pain Of Bunions
Do you constantly experience painful sensations on your big toe? Does it seem like your big toe is starting to lean over your other toes and that a big bump on its side is forming? Then you may be having a bunion.
A bunion is another common foot deformity that occurs due to lack of feet care. Once you have confirmed that a bunion has formed on your toe, here are 10 ways to relieve the pain of bunions.
- Foot Soak. Soaking your feet in warm water will help you cope with the pain associated with the bunion. you can just boil some water and add herbs or Epsom salt, then submerge your feet in this solution for about 10 minutes.
- Cold Compress. Aside from the heat, the cold can also give you temporary pain relief. Whenever your bunion aches, simply get an ice pack and hold it against the bunion until the pain subsides.
- Comfort Shoes. The most common cause of a bunion is a poor-fitting pair of shoes. To alleviate the pain that you feel, you should avoid wearing high-heeled or tight shoes. Instead, get shoes that bring your feet extra comfort. There are many special medical shoes available in the market like Morton’s Neuroma shoes. you can also wear insoles to help remove the pressure that your feet receive.
- Bunion Braces and Splints. When you’re at home, you can try wearing corrective bunion braces or splints. This will help straighten your toe and reduce the size of the bunion.
- Bunion shield and padding. Bunion shield and padding are products that are specifically designed to protect the bunion joint. Whenever you wear shoes, a bunion shield or padding will prevent the shoe rubber from rubbing with your bunion, making it less painful.
- Aspirin and other Medicines. There are medicines, like aspirin, that you can buy from the local pharmacy to help ease the bunion pain. you might need to ask for a medical prescription from the doctor first before you can buy these medicines.
- Bunion ointment And Cream. Aside from oral medicines, you can also use bunion ointment or cream to alleviate the bunion pain. These products can usually be bought over-the-counter so just ask your pharmacist about the best bunion ointment or cream that they have.
- Foot Spa. Getting a relaxing foot spa can help reduce the stress that your feet receive. The massage can also help to reduce the pain that you feel because of the bunion. you can simply visit your local day spa and pay for a soothing foot spa.
- Foot Therapy. Some podiatrists administer therapy that will help cure your bunion. Just go to a podiatrist and ask about the different food therapies that you can take in order to cope with your bunion.
- Surgery. If you were not able to treat your bunion right away, it might need to be permanently removed through a surgical process. Schedule an appointment with a doctor and ask what surgical methods you can undergo in order for you to get rid of bunion for good.
If you do not want to experience having deformities on your feet, you must take good care of them. your pair of feet is one of the most used and strained parts of your body so give proper attention to your feet to keep it safe from deformities and diseases.
Treatment Of Symptomatic Bunion
painful bunions can be alleviated with NSAIDS like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, etc. Cold soaks can also help relieve acute bunion pains. Some patients also find warm soaks to be helpful.
Custom made orthotics can help position the bunion to prevent painful bouts. Bunion pads, splints, shoes with wide toe boxes can also be used prevent irritation.
Sometimes merely changing the type of shoes you wear can prevent the worsening of a bunion. Irrespective of gender, switching from a tight, pointed toe shoe to a sandal can help enormously. So can the wearing of a bunion shoe, available from most orthopedic shoe stores. Both shoe styles remove the source of pressure on the bunion and have a wider forefront to accommodate a bunioned foot.
If your desire for fashion precludes such a change of shoe style, then remember, a consequence could well be that your bunion will progressively get, bigger, uglier and increasingly painful.
If an athlete, then a practical measure is to make a slit in the shoe in the bunion area to allow for extra room and thus alleviate pressure.
If you overpronate, consider trying a commercial arch support to help take some of the weight off the bunion.
Try as well, placing a pad over the bunion to reduce friction. Be careful not to add thickness, as this will just add more pressure. So, cut a hole in the middle of the pad where the bunion protrudes. The surrounding area is now built up a bit and hopefully, some pressure is taken off the bunion.
Why does this happen? Sometimes this is as a result of genetics, giving you a foot type that is just susceptible to this. This can also be caused by birth defects or foot injuries. Other causes are heavily debated among the medical community.
Some believe that certain types of footwear, including tight, pointy-toe high-heeled shoes or wearing shoes that are too narrow, are causes of bunions. Bunions may also happen as a result of inflammatory types of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis.
If you are in an industry that may put extra stress on your feet, you may be at a higher risk of developing bunions.
There are a variety of symptoms that are associated with bunions. The most obvious symptom is the bulging bump that can be found outside the base of your big toe. you may also have swelling, redness, and sensitivity at the joint of your big toe.
you may notice the skin at the base of your big toe thickening. Other symptoms include corns or calluses developing where the two toes overlap, pain that is either persistent or intermittent and your big toe having restrictive movement.
Generally, bunions do not re?uire medical attention, but there are some signs that mean you should visit your doctor or a specialized foot doctor to assist you. One sign is if you notice a lot of pain in your big toe or foot that is persistent.
Another sign includes having a visible bump that is located on your big toe joint. you may also want to see a doctor if you have decreased movement in your foot or big toe, as well as having difficulty finding shoes that fit properly because of the bunion.
There are also some complications that may happen as a result of bunions. Bursitis is a painful condition that happens when the bursae, the small fluid-filled pads that cushion bones, tendons, and muscles, start to become inflamed.
Another condition is “hammertoe”, where an abnormal bend happens in the middle joint of the toe and causes pain. This usually occurs in the toe next to the big toe. Metatarsalgia is a final complication as a result of bunions. This is a condition where a person will have pain and inflammation located in the ball of their foot.
If you end up with a bunion, know you don’t need surgery as there are gels as well as splints that would correct as well as relieve the pain.
Also, you can change your shoes to ones that are roomier, more comfortable, and has plenty of toe space. However, in a certain serious situation surgery may, unfortunately, be the only option.
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