A bunion can make walking or even wearing shoes painful and difficult, and if left untreated, a bunion can change the structure of your foot. At Woodlake Podiatry, LLC, in Chesterfield, Missouri, board-qualified podiatrist Sheryl Hanawalt, DPM, manages bunions through a conservative approach and performs surgery only as needed to correct foot deformities. To schedule an appointment, call or use the online booking tool.
A bunion is a painful, bony bump that develops at the base of your big toe. Bunions develop gradually when your big toe points inward, toward your second toe, instead of straight ahead. This causes your big toe joint to stick out, changing the structure of the bone.
You’re more likely to develop bunions if you wear tight, narrow shoes, or if you have arthritis. They’re usually related at least in part to the structure of your foot. Some people have big toes that naturally point toward their second toes, and this tendency can worsen over time.
Over time, bunions can change the structure of the affected foot. If your big toe places enough pressure on your second toe, your second toe can also become misaligned.
Many people only seek treatment for bunions after they’re already experiencing significant pain and difficulty walking, but with early intervention, you can prevent changes to your foot without surgery.
Many bunions are mild and improve with conservative treatment. Note that conservative treatment can’t reverse or “cure” a bunion, but you can prevent a bunion from getting worse and potentially requiring surgery.
As a first-line treatment for bunions, Dr. Hanawalt recommends wearing comfortable shoes that fit properly to reduce pressure on your toes and friction against the bunion. She may also recommend orthotics, or customized shoe inserts, which can properly align your toes and relieve pressure.
Other devices that can improve the alignment of your toes and improve bunions include toe spacers and night splints.
While you take these steps to prevent your bunion from getting worse, you can manage the pain by icing the area or taking over-the-counter pain medication.
You may be a candidate for bunion surgery if your bunion is causing significant problems, including:
Bunion surgery can relieve your pain, correct the alignment of your toes and any foot deformities, and help you return to your everyday activities.
To get treatment for a bunion, book an appointment at Woodlake Podiatry online or over the phone.