As one of the most common foot conditions, bunions can cause a significant amount of discomfort and pain for those who suffer from them. Characterized by a bony bump that forms on the joint at the base of the big toe, bunions can make it difficult to wear shoes or walk comfortably. 

At Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Center, located in the Greater Columbus area, we understand the impact that bunion pain can have on our patient’s quality of life. That’s why we offer a range of effective treatment options for a variety of foot and ankle conditions to help relieve pain and improve mobility.

If you’re experiencing bunion pain, don’t wait to seek treatment. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and take the first step toward finding relief!

Do I Need Surgery?

Visiting an orthopedic surgeon doesn’t mean that surgery is necessary. Our orthopedic doctors always prefer to use non-surgical procedures to treat injuries.

What Our Patients Say

“You were prepared regarding my foot issues before you stepped in the room! I appreciated your knowledge, explanations and graphics to show me what we can do. You gave me hope today!! Thank you!” — Heidi C.

What Is a Bunion?

A bunion (also known as hallux valgus) is a common foot condition characterized by a bony bump on the side of the big toe joint. This bump develops when the joint of the big toe is pushed out of alignment, causing the toe to bend toward the second toe. The resulting pressure on the joint can lead to the formation of a fluid-filled sac called a bursa, which can cause pain and inflammation.

What Causes Bunions?

People develop bunions when the metatarsal bone in the foot moves out of its normal position and causes the big toe to angle towards the other toes. One of the most common causes of bunions is wearing shoes that are too tight or high heels that force the toes into an unnatural position. This can put pressure on the metatarsal bone and cause it to shift out of place over time. 

Wearing shoes that do not fit properly can also lead to toes rubbing against each other, particularly the little toe rubbing against the fourth toe. This friction can cause corns and calluses to develop, further exacerbating the problem.

A woman experiencing bunion foot pain.

Age can also play a role in the development of bunions. They are more common in women than men and their frequency increases with age. As people get older, the padding on the bottom of the foot thins out, making the foot more susceptible to injury and damage. This can make it easier for the metatarsal bone to shift out of place and cause a bunion to form.

What Are the Symptoms of Having a Bunion?

A man showing the bunions on this feet.

The most common symptoms of having a bunion include the following:

How Are Bunions Diagnosed?

Bunions are usually diagnosed by a doctor or a foot specialist, such as a podiatrist. The diagnosis typically involves a physical examination of the affected foot and a review of the patient’s medical history.

During the physical exam, the doctor will look for signs of a bunion, such as swelling or redness around the base of the big toe. They will also assess the range of motion of the affected toe and look for any deformities or misalignments. The doctor may also ask the patient to walk or stand to see if the toes rub against each other or if there is any pain or discomfort.

In some cases, the doctor may order X-rays to get a better view of the bones and joints in the affected foot. X-rays can help the doctor assess the severity of the bunion and determine the best course of treatment.

How Are Bunions Treated?

The treatment for bunions depends on the severity of the condition and the symptoms experienced by the patient. Mild to moderate bunions can often be treated with non-surgical interventions, while more severe cases may require bunion surgery.

Non-Surgical Treatments

Non-surgical treatments for bunions may include the following:

  • Changing footwear: Wearing shoes that are roomy and comfortable can help reduce pressure on the affected toe. The best shoes for bunions are ones that have a wide toe box and low heels.
  • Toe spacers: Placing a soft, cushioned spacer between the first and second toes can help realign the toes and reduce pressure on the bunion.
  • Orthotic devices: Shoe inserts or custom orthotic devices can help distribute pressure more evenly across the foot, reducing stress on the affected toe.
  • Medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help alleviate pain and inflammation.
  • Physical therapy: Exercises that strengthen the muscles and improve the range of motion of the foot and ankle can help reduce the risk of developing bunions or prevent them from getting worse.

Surgical Treatments

In some cases, bunion surgery may be necessary to correct the deformity and relieve symptoms. Bunion surgery typically involves realigning the bones and soft tissues around the affected joint and may require the use of screws, plates, or other devices to hold the bones in place as they heal.

How Can I Prevent Bunions?

Bunions can be painful and uncomfortable, but they are often preventable with a few simple lifestyle changes.  Here are some tips to help prevent bunions:

  • Wear comfortable shoes: Avoid shoes that are too tight or narrow in the toe box. Look for shoes with a wide toe box, low heels, and ample support.
  • Wear orthotic devices: Consider using shoe inserts or custom orthotic devices to help support your feet and distribute pressure more evenly.
  • Be mindful of your posture: Pay attention to your posture when standing or walking. Try to keep your weight evenly distributed on both feet and avoid leaning forward or backward.
  • Exercise regularly: Strengthening the muscles in your feet and legs can help improve your balance and reduce your risk of developing bunions.
  • Avoid high heels: High heels put a lot of pressure on the toes and can contribute to the development of bunions. If you must wear heels, choose lower heels and avoid wearing them for extended periods.
  • Treat foot conditions promptly: If you have any foot conditions, such as hammertoe or overlapping toes, that can contribute to the development of bunions, make sure to treat them promptly.

Address Your Bunion Pain Today

Are you experiencing pain or discomfort from bunions? Contact us today at Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Center located in Columbus, OH to learn more about the causes and treatments of bunions.

Schedule an appointment with one of our experienced orthopedic specialists to start living pain-free. Don’t let bunions slow you down – take action and improve your quality of life now. Call us today to make an appointment!

Medically Reviewed by: Roberto A. Brandão, DPM, FACFAS

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