Your feet do a lot of work, and they carry all your weight. For this reason, many people develop foot pain or other foot complications. One of the most common types of foot pain is a bunion. Keep reading to learn more.
What Is a Bunion?
At first glance, a bunion may look like a growth on the skin or an abscess. However, it's actually made of bone, and it develops when the big toe starts to overlap the other toes. This causes the base of the big toe joint to push outward, causing the tell-tale bump.
In some cases, you may cause your own bunions. For example, wearing high heels or shoes that squeeze your toes together can irritate the toe and force it to sit at an angle for long periods of time. In many cases, however, the cause is related to genetics, the structure of your foot, or whether one leg is longer than the other. Rheumatoid arthritis, which affects joints, can also lead to bunions.
What Are the Symptoms of Bunions?
If you have a bunion, you can often see it as a big bump at the base of your toe joint. The bump may be red or warm to the touch due to swelling. When you touch a bunion, it should feel hard since it's made of bone, but it may also be tender to the touch. Naturally, bunions can also cause pain, and they can affect the joint's movement.
Given the nature of bunions, you may also develop other foot disorders, such as corns or calluses. Since your toe is not in the right place, this can cause corns and calluses to appear where the big toe overlaps the little toes, and where the shoe or sock hits and rubs against the bunion.
How Are Bunions Treated?
In some cases, patients do well by simply making changes that take pressure off the bunion. This includes wearing shoes that fit, but it may also require special pads and inserts to keep your toes in a proper position. These pads also serve as a barrier to prevent irritation if the bunion comes in contact with the shoe or the big toe comes in contact with the other toes. Ice and over-the-counter medications can help ease the pain as well.
If you suffer from severe pain or conservative treatments haven't helped, you may want to consider surgery. During surgery, any swollen tissue is removed. Then the big toe is straightened, and the rest of the foot is realigned if necessary.
In some cases, your bunion can be prevented, but genetics and foot structure can also cause bunions to appear. If you notice a bunion developing, starting treatment quickly is the best way to avoid future pain and surgery. If you would like to know more, contact a podiatrist in your area today.