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
Calcaneal Spurs (otherwise known as heel spurs) are calcium deposits that form at the heel when the patient’s heel has been exposed to prolonged and sustained stress over the course of their life. Ordinarily, this calcifying process is perfectly natural, and causes no undue harm to the patient. However, with instances of repeated damage to this area, the calcium deposits may manifest into a sharp spur-like formation that can be very painful and damaging. Symptoms of Calcaneal Spurs are a sharp and distinct pain in the area around the spur, which intensifies during periods of prolonged inactivity. Most often, this pain is most severe in the morning, and patients often report that they can no longer support weight on the afflicted foot.
Spurs commonly afflict those suffering from Flat Feet, obese members of the population and women who frequently wear high-heeled shoes. This condition can be aggravated by running, walking or attempting to lift heavy objects on a routine basis. Ordinarily, your podiatrist can confirm the presence of a heel spur by running a routine radiological (x-ray) examination, whereupon the spur will be plainly visible. Spurs can develop on either the top or bottom of the heel, depending on the nature of the stress placed upon them. Spurs located on the bottom of the heel (known as inferior spurs), are typically comorbid with Plantar Fasciitis and develop as a direct result of the degenerative nature of the condition.
Treatments for calcaneal spurs vary, depending on the severity of the condition, and how deeply it impacts the patient’s quality of life. Non-surgical options are mostly restricted to specialized exercises prescribed by your doctor, as well as the possible additions of Orthotics, a change in footwear and physical therapy. In the overwhelming majority of cases, such simple therapies eliminate the spur and cause the patient to undergo a full recovery after only a few months. After an adequate trial of conservative therapy, which has produced a less than satisfactory outcome, shock wave therapy becomes a consideration.
If you have chronic pain in the heel area, and suspect symptoms of calcaneal spurs, please book an appointment with podiatry associates. Our team of highly trained, experienced and compassionate practitioners can often provide a comfortable and quick treatment and recovery. Contact us at our Toronto, Whitby or Mississauga offices today!
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