If you’ve noticed changes in the shape of your foot and are finding it uncomfortable to wear shoes or be on your feet for long, you may have a bunion. This is a common foot complaint, and an area of specialty for Ramin Zaghi, DPM, in Gramercy Park, New York City. Don’t live with discomfort and limitations when there are treatments that can help. Call the office or schedule an appointment online today to explore your bunion treatment options.
A bunion is a condition that develops when the joint at the base of your big toe is shifted out of its normal position. To understand bunions, it helps to think about the anatomy of the human foot.
Your big toe has two joints. The metatarsophalangeal joint (MTP) is the junction of your long metatarsal foot bone and the first bone in your toe, which is called the phalanx.
When pressure is placed on this joint, your big toe can begin to lean inward toward your second toe. That causes your MTP joint to jut out at an unusual angle. Bunions usually start out small, but as they grow larger, they begin to rub against your shoes, hastening their development.
Anyone can develop a bunion, but women experience the condition at higher rates than men. That’s due to the role that your footwear plays in developing or exacerbating bunions.
Shoes with a narrow or pointed toe box force your toes in an unnatural and awkward position. High heels make matters worse, because they shift your body’s weight forward, forcing your toes to move toward the front of your shoes.
Genetics also plays a role, and the structure and shape of your feet could leave you at an elevated risk for bunions. Men and women with inflammatory conditions like polio or rheumatoid arthritis can also develop bunions.
The first step you should take to address a bunion is to choose footwear that provides plenty of room in the toe box. Look for options that have flexible, wide soles. You might even be able to use a pair of shoe stretchers to expand the toe box in your favorite shoes.
You can cushion a small bunion using a gel-filled pad or a piece of moleskin. If your bunion becomes swollen and painful, soaking your foot in warm water, using ice packs, and taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication can help.
In some cases, surgery is the best treatment option. Some procedures remove inflamed tissue from the affected joint. Others remove a small piece of bone to straighten your big toe. There are even surgical techniques that realign the bones in the front portion of your foot or fuse two bones together.
If you’ve noticed changes in the inner edge of your feet or see a bony protrusion at the base of your big toe, schedule a visit with Dr. Zaghi to determine if you have a bunion.