A condition that we treat frequently at Connecticut Foot Care Centers is bunions. We find that most patients are able to easily identify a bunion by its telltale bump on the side of the big toe, but often don’t know much more about this disorder. Below are some facts to help you better understand bunions and what to do about them:
FACT: A bunion is a deformity in the bone which occurs as a result of an enlargement of the joint at the base of the big toe. The toe moving out of place and moving towards the second toe is what produces the bony protrusion on the side of the toe. In some cases, the toe will even overlap the third toe or rotate and twist. Bunions can lead to additional deformities as well, such as hammertoe.
FACT: Unfortunately, by the time a bunion is visibly obvious, it has progressed to a more severe state. The best time to evaluate and treat a bunion is in its earliest stages. If you notice even a slight appearance of your toe beginning to look crooked or out of place, or if you start to feel pain or numbness in the toe, that’s the time to contact one of our six Hartford and Middlesex County offices. Our podiatrists Jeffrey S. Kahn, D.P.M., Craig M. Kaufman, D.P.M., Ayman M. Latif, D.P.M. or Raffaella R. Pascarella, D.P.M. will quickly examine your toe and diagnose the source of your discomfort.
FACT: There several conservative treatments available for bunion sufferers, including:
- Modifying footwear and choosing styles with low heels and roomy toe boxes
- Custom orthotic devices to help correct the position of the foot and stabilize the joint
- Exercises and physical therapy to maintain range of motion and joint flexibility
- Night splints to realign the toe and joint
- Padding, if friction and pressure are causing pain to the toe
FACT: Although bunions are not inherited, the biomechanical defect that predisposes a patient to develop a bunion can be passed on. One of the best ways to prevent bunions is to limit time spent in footwear with high heels and narrow pointy toe boxes. Other conditions such as flat feet and neuromuscular problems can also lead to bunions. Taking care of your feet and not ignoring the pain and other symptoms can also lower your risk of bunions.