It’s hard to confuse a bunion with another foot problem. Up to 1 in 3 people lives with this deformity affecting the joint at the base of the big toe. Over time, this seemingly harmless problem causes the toe to start bending in toward your other toes instead of straight ahead.
In the early stages, bunions usually aren’t a serious issue, and you may barely notice them. But as they worsen and the deformity becomes more pronounced, bunions can cause significant stiffness and pain. And the problems don’t stop there.
Our team uses conservative methods to treat bunions whenever possible at Premier Foot and Ankle Center. But in severe cases, surgery can provide the best solution.
Here’s why bunions can cause problems and when it could be time to consider surgery.
Why you shouldn’t ignore bunions
The obvious problem with a bunion is the deformity it causes. But this irregular alignment causes issues with other parts of the foot as well.
As your toe bends into abnormal angles, it starts putting pressure on the toes nearby, forcing them into awkward positions too. When ignored, this misalignment can trigger additional foot problems, such as:
- Blisters and wounds
- Corns and calluses
- Ingrown toenails
Bunions are especially dangerous for people with peripheral arterial disease or diabetes, who already have an increased risk of foot complications, including skin and bone infections.
Conservative treatments for bunions
If you have bunions, seek treatment as soon as possible. By taking action early, you can often find relief with conservative solutions.
To determine the best strategy for you, we assess the severity of your bunions and check for other foot problems, like hammertoe or bursitis. We also discuss your symptoms, health, lifestyle, and overall goals.
Based on these factors, we create a personalized plan to ease pressure on your bunion and relieve your pain. These approaches often include:
- Icing the bunion
- Choosing roomy shoes with plenty of toe space
- Using padding to relieve pressure between your foot and shoe
- Getting custom-made orthotics to improve your foot distribution
- Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Having targeted joint injections
- Trying a physical therapy program
In most cases, you should find significant relief for your bunion symptoms by following these recommendations. But if they don’t help, you have a severe deformity, or your symptoms continue to worsen, it could be time for surgery.
What to expect from bunion surgery
No one looks forward to surgery, but it can provide life-changing results for debilitating bunions. Our team excels in corrective foot and ankle surgeries, including minimally invasive procedures to reduce scarring, pain, and recovery time.
We use several techniques to surgically correct bunions, but they all involve cutting and repositioning the bones with metal screws to straighten your big toe and restore alignment.
Depending on your procedure, you may be able to walk shortly after your surgery. But it can take weeks or months to fully recover from bunion treatment.
Do you have bunions? Don’t wait to find treatment. Contact the Premier Foot and Ankle Center nearest you to schedule a consultation today. We have offices in Worcester, Webster, and Leominster, Massachusetts.