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Bunions are a relatively common type of foot deformity where the big toe (or in some cases even the little toe) leans and in some cases overlaps other toes. As bunions progress, the angle of the bones gradually changes and causes a bump or protrusion that sticks out past the normal shape of the foot. According to the BellevueBunionCenter, government statistics reveal that in any given year an estimated 4.4 million people report suffering from bunions. Bunions can be very painful and cause restricted toe movements, and they can make wearing common footwear very uncomfortable. If left untreated, bunions can progress to the point where the pain is so severe that the person’s activity level is impacted and surgery is required to correct the issue. Thankfully, early treatment can help significantly decrease bunion pain, slow its progression, and help avoid the need for corrective surgery. Experts from the BellevueBunionCenter recommend consulting with your healthcare provider as soon as you suspect that you might have a bunion starting to form.
What causes bunions?
For some people bunions occur due to their inherited foot type, but quite often they occur as a result of repetitive stress to the joints of the big toe. Unevenly distributing your weight throughout the joints and tendons in the feet causes an imbalance of pressure that can make the big toe joint become unstable and lead to bunions. Inflammatory types of arthritis, like rheumatoid arthritis, or having an occupation that puts extra stress on the feet or requires you to wear pointed shoes can also lead to the formation of bunions. No matter what is causing your bunion, early treatment is the best option for reducing bunion pains and avoiding the need for corrective surgery.
In addition to having corrective surgery, there are a number of other more conservative treatment options available to help reduce bunion pain and pressure.
-- Wear properly fitting footwear – it’s important to wear shoes that are comfortable, have plenty of space for your toes, and fit correctly.
-- Use the Bunion Aid Flexible Pain Relief Splint – this splint is great for anyone with bunions! It helps alleviate bunion pains and pressure, protects the bunion from further stress and irritation, and helps correct bunions by realigning the big toe.
-- Use OTC pain relievers – Taking over-the-counter pain relievers that contain acetaminophen (like Tylenol), ibuprofen (like Advil or Motrin), or naproxen (like Aleve) are great for helping reduce any swelling and inflammation and controlling pain.
-- Try using shoe inserts – using shoe inserts, like the Dr. Scholl’s P.R.O. Pain Relief Orthotics for Arthritis, are great for helping relieve bunion pains and preventing them from getting worse. In addition to providing extra padding, the inserts help distribute pressure more evenly.
-- Apply ice – Using cold packs on you bunion also helps relieve some of the pain and soreness, as well as reducing swelling and inflammation. Brent Rosenthal, a podiatrist and podiatric surgeon at CentraState Medical Center in Freehold, N.J. recommends applying ice packs several times a day
When it comes to dealing with bunions, the sooner you start treatment the better. Using these nonsurgical treatments can help reduce bunion pains and prevent bunions from getting worse. Like Rosenthal says in an August 2014 news release from CentraStateMedicalCenter, “taking care of them [bunions] now can help you avoid more serious treatment later.”