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I can`t believe how many times per day i have answered this question in 30+ years of clinical practice and teaching. The answer is simple, your footwear are the foundation of your structure!. Without a stable solid foundation the best orthotic in the world will do little to improve your functional control or stability. It's a bit like a race car team struggling to adjust the suspension on their car while running street tires on the track. In the modern world we have chosen to live in, the surfaces our feet deal with every step are hostile, unforgiving and repetitive. Like or not we are completely dependant on the use of footwear as a result of our environment. The shock absorbing nature of the footwear has won over the popular vote in both manufacturing and retail versus structural stability. As a result of this structural integrity and functional design has seen a rapid decline in the last 10 years. Innovation appears rampant in the market place, however when examined even briefly, reveals that most designs are intended to appeal to the eye or allude to an advanced but unrevealed technology. The real beneficiaries of these changes are the manufactures and the retailers. So as per usual its a case of buyer be beware, or buyer be better informed. If we as clinical specialists don't arm you with the necessary information you need to purchase the correct footwear for your specific feet then we have failed to perform our most fundamental of tasks.
So back to the question, shoes versus orthotics. Good stable foot footwear is vital and in many cases all that may be required. Where symptoms prevail or the severity of the condition demands orthotics are often a superb next step and must be designed appropriately with consideration for the condition, individual and the activities intended.
Could your foot problems be due to a bunion? Help is on the way!
A bunion is a fairly common foot ailment; however, just because you have one doesn’t mean that you have to just put up with the pain and discomfort. Learn more about this condition and how your podiatrist may be able to help provide the relief you’ve been looking for.
What is a bunion?
A bunion is a bony bump that originates at a toe’s joint. While any toe can be affected, bunions are most often found at the base of the big toe.
What are the symptoms?
The most common symptoms of a bunion are:
- A large, hard protrusion at the base of the big toe
- Localized pain and swelling
- Soreness and redness around the affected toe
- Difficulty moving the big toe
What causes a bunion to form?
A bunion forms when weight isn’t distributed evenly on the joints of the feet. Over time this causes the joint to become unstable and form a hard lump. A bunion may be the result of a congenital foot deformity, a past injury or arthritis. There is also a debate as to whether wearing tight, high-heeled shoes could also cause a bunion to form.
What treatment options are available to me?
There are many conservative options that you can try to help alleviate your bunion symptoms. Some of the most common options include:
- Wearing shoe inserts or custom orthotics (which your podiatrist can prescribe for you)
- Only wearing shoes that fit comfortably and give your toes room to move
- Splinting or taping the foot so it’s in the proper position
- Taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications like Tylenol or Aleve
- Taking prescription medication or cortisone injections may also reduce pain and swelling, particularly if symptoms are more severe
- Applying a wrapped ice pack to the bunion to reduce swelling and discomfort
Can a bunion be removed?
While the treatment options above are designed to reduce and even eliminate the pain you are experiencing, they are not designed to remove or get rid of the bunion. The only way to truly get rid of a bunion is to have it surgically removed, and surgery is not often recommended until you have exhausted all other treatment options and still haven’t experienced any relief.
Will a bunion get worse if left untreated?
Bunions are known to increase over time, but it will be hard to predict when a bunion will get larger. When you come in to see your foot doctor we may be able to determine just how large your bunion may become over time.
Contact your Podiatrist
A bunion doesn’t have to rule your life. Turn to your podiatrist to find the answers you need to treat your bunion symptoms effectively.
Here is a link to an interview back in early December last year with Rogers Television on the difficult subject of ensuring adequate foot care is being provided those living in sheltered or supervised accomodation. Unfortunately sometimes we are presented with patients in our clinics showing clear indications of poor hygene and neglect. As unpleasent as the prospect might be!, drawing the attention of the care providers, either institutional or familial is enough to perminently correct the situation.
Congratulations on a truly amazing athletic performance by Damian Warner winning Pan Am decathlon and surpassing the performance of yet another amazing decathlon performer Michael Smith