Have you noticed a bump forming at the base of your big toe? You might have a bunion or hallux valgus, which is a sometimes painful condition in your joint.
There are several treatment options when you have a bunion that's bothering you. You don't always need surgery for a bunion if it's not affecting your normal activities.
If your bunion causes problems, Dr. Magdy Issa, our experienced podiatrist at the Spine and Orthopedic Center of New Mexico in Roswell, New Mexico, evaluates your bunion to determine if surgery is the right treatment option for you.
What is a bunion?
A bunion is a bump on your big toe that forms when your bones move out of alignment. When you have a bunion, your big toe begins to move toward your second toe, causing the bone to kick out to the side, forming a visible deformity.
Bunions happen for various reasons, including genetics. The bunion itself isn't what's inherited; it's specific foot structures that make you more prone to developing a bunion. You're also at risk for bunions when you have a foot injury or inflammatory condition like rheumatoid arthritis.
Unfortunately, bunions are a progressive condition that worsens over time. Wearing tight shoes or high heels puts excess stress on the bones in your foot, making it more likely that your bunion will get worse.
Signs of a problem
Although the bump on your toe is a telltale sign of a bunion, there are other symptoms you may experience as well. The symptoms vary depending on the severity of your bunion and how long you've had it.
You may have a bunion that doesn't bother you at all. Not all bunions cause pain or other uncomfortable symptoms. However, if you have any of the following, you may need to seek treatment:
- Limited range of motion in your big toe
- Pain that comes and goes
- Swelling around your big toe
- Redness or irritation at your big toe joint
- Corn or callus formation from your toes rubbing
As your bunion progresses, you may experience more painful symptoms and even have trouble wearing shoes or walking.
The longer you let your bunion go without treatment, the worse your symptoms become as the bones move out of their normal alignment.
Do you need surgery?
When you have a bunion, we don’t typically suggest surgery immediately unless the bunion severely affects your daily activities and your ability to wear shoes or walk.
During the evaluation, we examine your toe and joint to determine the severity of your bunion. We ask you about your symptoms and how long the bunion has been bothering you.
In most cases, Dr. Issa starts your treatment with conservative measures. He recommends putting ice on your bunion after a long day on your feet to help alleviate swelling and pain.
He may suggest over-the-counter pain relievers to decrease your discomfort and settle the inflammation around your big toe. You should also consider padding your bunion daily to prevent friction in your shoes.
Shoe inserts or custom orthotics are other conservative measures we recommend for mild-to-moderate bunion pain.
If you've tried several non-surgical treatments without relief, and your bunion affects your everyday activities, Dr. Issa discusses surgical repair of your bunion.
There are several different surgical procedures Dr. Issa uses for bunions. He discusses your options before your procedure to determine which surgical option is best for you and your specific condition.
To find out if you're a good candidate for bunion surgery, call our office in Roswell at 575-623-9101, or book an appointment on our website using our convenient scheduling tool.