Did you know that your big toes are the hardest working digits in your feet?
Every time your foot pushes off the ground, your big toe supports most of your body’s weight. And whenever the big toes suffer, so will your ability to walk and stand.
That’s why it’s so important to address early signs of toe deformities: a “mere” bunion can keep you from participating in favorite sports, spending quality time with family and friends, and even doing simple chores like cooking or checking the mail.
Beyond causing pain, a bunion can also change the shape of your foot, keeping you from wearing your favorite pair of shoes. Now you not only feel pain, but looking your best is also proving to be a hard task.
Our team of experts at Sierra Foot & Ankle is equipped with the best tools and knowledge available to treat and prevent this painful condition. From conservative remedies to surgical treatment options, we can help you get back to doing the things you love to do as quickly as possible.
What Is A Bunion?
Most of us know a bunion as “a bump on the side of the big toe.” Although this is a somewhat accurate description of a bunion, this condition goes much deeper than what meets the eye.
In essence, a bunion is a partial dislocation of the joint at the base of the big toe. As the dislocated big toe moves toward its neighboring toes, the head of the 1st metatarsal bone begins to jut out, causing the visible “bump.”
As a progressive condition, bunions will only worsen when left untreated and can affect other areas of the foot.
What Causes Bunions?
Bunions are often caused by abnormal foot biomechanics. For instance, the foot may flatten too much, which puts extra pressure on the joint at the base of the big toe and slowly forces it to move beyond its normal range.
In some cases, joint damage caused by arthritis or an injury may also contribute to the development of a bunion. Other people are just born with the tendency to develop this condition.
Wearing high heeled shoes or ill-fitting footwear doesn’t necessarily cause bunions, but they can certainly make the condition much worse.
What Are the Symptoms?
The most common complaints we hear from patients seeking bunion treatment include:
- Pain or soreness
- Burning sensation
- Numbing sensation
- Calluses on the big toe
- Sores between the toes
- Inflammation and redness
- Restricted motion of the toe
Sometimes corns can develop between the first and second toes due to the pressure of the toes rubbing against each other. In severe cases, the big toe joint may be acutely inflamed from the development of a sac of fluid over the bunion from rubbing on your shoe, a condition known as bursitis.
Common Bunion FAQs
What Causes a Bunion?
A bunion is a painful, bony bump on the joint of the big toe. It results from an unstable joint that allows a bone in your toe to move out of alignment.
The exact cause isn’t clear, but people who get bunions tend to share common risk factors. According to some experts, your shoes may contribute to your bunions. People who wear high heels, pointy-toes, poorly fitting shoes, or tight, narrow shoes are more likely to have bunions.
It’s also possible that there is a genetic factor in developing bunions. You’re more likely to develop a bunion if your family has a history of them, and that may be related to inherited foot structure. Stress on the foot, injuries, or deformities of the foot may also play a part.
People with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), an inflammatory condition, also have a greater risk of developing bunions.
Dr. Melhuish and the team at Sierra Foot & Ankle always try to relieve your symptoms with conservative treatment first, but surgery may be an option if that fails. We’re excited to offer Lapiplasty, an advanced procedure that does more than removing the painful bump – it also corrects the root cause of the problem. Lapiplasty completely and permanently corrects and stabilizes the misaligned joint that is the source of your painful bunion. With the joint stabilized and the bone back in its correct place, your toe remains correctly aligned. No more bunions! And, unlike traditional surgery that keeps you off your feet for weeks, Lapiplasty allows you to recover in a walking boot starting days after surgery. You don’t have to live with the pain of bunions. Sierra Foot & Ankle can fix them at the source and get you back on your feet before you know it. Call (775) 783-8037 for an appointment or contact us online.
Taping or padding. Using pads and cushions to reduce the pressure over the bone can also be helpful for mild bunion deformities.
Non-custom orthotics. Because we have an onsite orthotic lab, we can make sophisticated adjustments to customize OTC devices for your foot.
Bunion night splints.
Ultrasound-guided steroid injections to calm the pain and inflammation.
Custom orthotics, which control abnormal pronation, helping to reduce pain and stop the deforming forces that cause the bunion. Sierra Foot & Ankles uses the most advanced foot orthotics which are fabricated from a high-resolution foot and ankle 3-D scan combined with real-time pressure gait analysis. This data is then utilized to create a computerized 3-D printed orthotic.
If conservative treatments are unable to provide adequate relief or address the root causes of your bunion, then surgery will be considered.
Dr. Melhuish is trained in a variety of bunion surgical procedures, including the state-of-the-art Lapiplasty procedure. This is a sophisticated and elegant approach that not only provides superior anatomical correction when compared to conventional bunion surgeries, but also allows a faster return to weight-bearing and has a much lower long-term risk of bunion recurrence.
We pride ourselves on being a valued wellness partner for our patients. We educate you on all your options and help you decide on the best course of action. You oversee your health care, and we advocate for you.
While procedures Dr. Melhuish performs may differ based on the location and complexity of the condition, most can be conducted on an outpatient basis. Call our Carson City office today at (775) 783-8037 to schedule an appointment and take your first steps toward comfort.