A bunion is a foot deformity at the base of the big toe where the toe connects to the foot. The deformity is caused by the connective MTP (metatarsophalangeal) joint’s bone or tissue moving out of alignment – creating a bump or enlargement at the joint.
Similar to a bunion, but located on the outside of the little toe, is a bunionette (also referred to as Tailor’s Bunion Deformity). Bunionettes often have the same symptoms, causes, and treatments as bunions.
What causes a bunion?
There is some debate over the exact cause of bunions, but some of the potential causes include:
- Birth deformities
- Marfan syndrome – disorder affecting your body’s connective tissue
- Shoes that are too tight or too loose
- Imbalanced pressure on the foot
Symptoms & Identification
Symptoms of a bunion aren’t limited to the bump that forms at the base of your big toe. Some of the other possible symptoms include:
- Decrease in toe functionality
- Pain at the base of your big toe
- Persistent foot pain
- Soreness in the joint
- Shoes fitting tighter than usual
Remember, all of these symptoms and identifiable characteristics can be associated with bunionettes (Tailor’s Bunion Deformity) as well; however, bunionettes affect the little toe. If you’re experiencing symptoms like these – schedule an appointment with one of our podiatrists today for further evaluation and treatment options.
Treatment for Bunions
Depending on the severity of your bunion pain and development, there are conservative and surgical treatment options. At Advanced Foot & Ankle our podiatrists always look to conservative treatment options first.
There are several simple conservative treatments for bunions:
- New, properly fitting shoes
- Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications (e.g. Tylenol, Advil, Aleve, etc.)
- Bunion pads
- Foot splints
- Cortisone injections
- Custom orthotics & shoe inserts
Not all bunions can be treated conservatively, but the sooner you identify the ailment the better chance you have of preventing surgery.
Bunion Surgery & Recovery
If conservative treatments don’t relieve your bunion symptoms and you’re experiencing consistent pain that affects your daily life – surgery may be necessary. The surgical procedure to correct or remove a bunion is referred to as a bunionectomy (also known as an exostectomy). The procedure itself may consist of:
- Clearing away swollen tissue
- Reduction of bone
- Fusing the bones of your joint
- Realignment & straitening of the bones
Recovering from bunion surgery can take anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks, and full recovery typically takes 4 to 6 months. Your recovery may consist of:
- Beginning in a boot or cast
- Transitioning to a brace after several weeks
- Using crutches to relieve pressure on the foot
- Icing to reduce inflammation
- Physical therapy to rebuild your foot strength