A bunion is a deformity of the metatarsophalangeal joint of the big toe. As a bunion develops, the first metatarsal bone of the foot turns outward and the big toe points inward. Eventually, the fluid-filled sac that surrounds the joint becomes inflamed. This causes the joint to become painful and stiff.
The Causes of Bunions
Wearing shoes with narrow toes can cause a bunion, and high heels can make the problem worse. This is why bunions are much more common in women than men. But, the main cause of bunions is hereditary. Some people with a certain foot shape and structure are more prone to bunions. Loose joints, flat feet and low arches can all increase the risk of developing bunions. Occupations which involve a lot of standing can result in bunions. Women can develop bunions during pregnancy due to changes in hormonal levels that loosen ligaments and flatten the feet. Lastly, bunions are associated with arthritis due to cartilage damage within the joint.
When It’s time to Consult an Orthopedic Doctor
Conservative treatment of a bunion includes wearing good athletic shoes, wearing a gel-filled pad, cortisone injections, warm soaks and ibuprofen. When conservative measures fail and there is pain and interference with daily activities, it’s time to consult an orthopedic doctor. Surgery may be needed to restore the toe back to its normal position. The purpose of surgery is to eliminate the bony protuberance and realign the joint. There are more than 100 surgical procedures to eliminate a bunion. An orthopedic doctor will take x-rays to help classify the bunion according to its severity. If the bunion is mild, the most common procedure is a bunionectomy. With the procedure, the enlarged portion is shaved off. If the bunion is moderate, it may be required to cut the bone to shift it back to its proper position.
If you have a bunion that is causing pain and limiting your daily activities, turn to Southeast Orthopedic Specialists for help. They’ve helped many others eliminate pain and return to their normal activities due to bunion problems. Their doctors are trained specifically in foot problems. Upon an evaluation, you’ll be given the best course of action to take. Give them a call today.Return to Blog