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Bunions, also called hallux valgus, cause painful growths at the base of the big toe joint that develops over time, causing the big toe to lean toward the second toe. While anyone can get bunions, they are more common in women. Symptoms typically get worse over time, particularly if the individual continues to wear tight or narrow shoes.

Bunion symptoms include:

  • Swelling, redness or soreness around the big toe joint
  • A bulging bump on the outside of the base of your big toe
  • Pain, either constant or intermittent
  • Stiffness and limited movement of the big toe, which may lead to difficulty walking
  • Corns or calluses

Diagnosing a Bunion

A simple physical examination of the feet can identify a bunion and an X-ray determines the course of treatment. The X-ray allows your doctor to look at the alignment of your toes and damage to the MTP joint. Because the alignment of your foot bones changes while sitting versus standing, you may need 2 sets of X-rays to check the malalignment of the joint more clearly.

Non-surgical Treatment for Bunions

For most people, bunion pain relief is as simple as wearing wider shoes with a bigger toe box and using other simple, non-surgical remedies to reduce pressure on the big toe. Although non-surgical treatment cannot fix the appearance of a bunion, it can reduce pain and keep the bunion from getting bigger.

Other Conservative Treatments for Bunions Include:

  • Padding: These protective "bunion-shield" pads can be purchased over-the-counter at a drugstore or pharmacy. They act as cushions between the foot and the shoe.
  • Orthotics: Special shoe inserts called orthotics can help with even pressure distribution as you move your feet and prevent your bunion from getting worse.
  • Icing: Applying ice can relieve inflammation and swelling. Apply ice several times a day for 20 minutes to help reduce swelling.
  • Medications: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen and naproxen can help relieve pain and inflammation.

Surgical Treatments for Bunions

Your foot surgeon may recommend surgery for a bunion if you fail to respond sufficiently to changes in footwear and other conservative treatments. Surgical correction of a bunion is referred to as a bunionectomy, and it involves removing the swollen tissue from around the MTP joint, realigning the bones to a more normal position, and fusing the bones of the affected joint permanently.

Do you have a bunion?
See if you are a candidate for a bunionectomy.
Call Newport Orthopedic Institute at
(949) 722-7038 for an appointment.

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