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Bunions – What Are They And How To Treat Them?

August 15, 2018

What Are Bunions?

A bunion is a hard and often painful bony lump that forms on the main joint of your big toe. A bunion starts off as soft tissue swelling, which over time (if treatment is not implemented), results in additional bony deposits on the joint. Bunions are a common foot ailment amongst the general population and a very common condition here at Orthotics Solutions Podiatry – in fact we see over 400 bunions a year! Do you have bunions?

Symptoms will always vary from patient to patient, but some key indicators of bunions are:

  • Visual deformation on the big toe joint (knuckle);
  • Swelling or redness around the joint;
  • Restricted movement of the big toe joint (it should bend upwards 80 degrees);
  • Tenderness to touch;
  • Pain (either persistent or intermittent) when walking and doing other normal activities;
  • Discomfort or difficulty wearing shoes, especially narrower ‘dress’ shoes.
what are bunions

Bunions are an uncomfortable, bony growth that typically forms at the first joint of your big toe.

What Causes Bunions?

Bunions are often hereditary: if your parents or other family members have bunions, it’s more likely that you’ll experience them too. This is because the shape, structure & mechanics of your feet are also hereditary and some feet types are more susceptible to developing bunions than others. If you have low arches or ‘flat feet’, or loose ligaments and joints in your feet, you’re probably at a higher risk than other people.

People of all ages (including children) and genders can get bunions and your natural foot tendencies are often exacerbated by narrow and restrictive shoes. Because certain kinds of shoes are prime suspects in causing bunions, this sadly means the fashionably pointed and high-heeled options favoured by many women tend to result in more rapid bunion development.

what causes bunion

Pointy or narrow-toed shoes compress your feet, causing discomfort and increasing the risk of developing bunions.

How We Treat Bunions

Here at Orthotic Solutions Podiatry, our experienced podiatrists have seen countless patients suffering from bunions over the years. We firmly believe surgery is the ‘last resort’ and via the use of our specialised custom made orthotics, we can redirect the abnormal forces away from your bunions. Additionally, for those dressy leather shoes that won’t fit orthotics we have a ‘bunion shoe stretcher’ to further take the pressure off your bunions.

How to treat bunions

Different bunion severity will require different treatment. The above image provides some general idea of differing severities.

Our goal is to decrease the pressure, redirect the forces away from the joint (thus decrease pain) and over time, slow the rate of progression via:

  • Changing your daily footwear to wider shoes that reduce pressure on your toes/bunion;
  • Stretching your leather shoes reduce discomfort and compression;
  • Recommending anti-inflammatory regimes for swelling and pain relief;
  • Bunion orthotics to redirect pressure away from the bunion by limiting pronation during toe off.

The presentation of bunions in children typically indicates a need for orthotics. This is because bunions in young children are often directly linked to hereditary factors & excessive pronation during toe off. At this stage, orthotics are recommended to ensure the forces are redirected away from the bunion, thus pain is relieved and the progression is slowed.

We discuss children’s orthotics in detail on our page, Children’s Flat Feet Treatment – The Truth about Children’s Orthotics. If you’re concerned about your child’s feet and aren’t sure if orthotics are necessary, we would love to discuss your concerns in person and provide an assessment.

Call Our Offices Today

If you believe you or your children have bunions, call Orthotic Solutions Podiatry today to set up an appointment. One of our friendly & experienced podiatrists will assess your feet to develop a plan for you.

Tel: 1300 1 2 FEET (3338)

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