(501) 321-4844

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Having bunions are not a major health risk like some of the conditions we treat, but they can have a negative impact on the quality of your life by making normal, daily activities more painful than they need to be. Fortunately, there are conservative methods of providing treatment that can be rather effective and provide the relief you need from the irritation and pain they may cause.

What is a Bunion?

bunions on both big toesThe condition is essentially a toe deformity that can entail a painful swelling at your first metatarsophalangeal joint (MTPJ), which is where your big toe meets the foot. This deformity happens when the big toe is pushed in towards the next one, which causes the end of the toe to point inward and the MTPJ to jut out on the inside edge of your foot.

Since the resulting protrusion is not normal, most footwear is not designed to accommodate bunions. This often leads to pressure on the bursa—a fluid-filled sac that serves to protect the joint—which then becomes inflamed and swollen. Eventually, your entire joint will become painful and stiffened.

Several risk factors can play a role in leading to the formation of a bunion on your foot. These typically include choice in footwear, arthritis, and genetics. When you wear shoes that do not fit properly—particularly ones that are tight and narrow in the toe area—it can force your big toe inward for extended periods of time. If you live with arthritis, pain in your feet may cause you to alter your natural gait and this might increase your risk. An inherited foot structure can also cause your big toe to move inward.

How Do I Know if I Have a Bunion?

Symptoms include the noticeable bulging bump found on the inside edge of your foot at the first MTPJ. Additionally, you will likely note thickening and swelling of your skin at the base of the toe. Pain in the joint will often accompany the condition, as might corns or calluses that develop on account of friction from the insides of your shoes. If you are unsure or have doubts, an X-ray will clearly show if you have developed this deformity or not.

There are conservative treatment methods that you may be able to do at home (we will explain in a moment), but you should definitely come in and see Dr. LaCava at our office if you have decreased mobility, persistent pain, or are having a difficult time finding shoes that provide a comfortable fit on account of the extra bump your foot.

What are Conservative Treatment Options for a Bunion?

Conservative treatment options depend a bit on what stage we are able to begin administering care for your deformity. If we catch it early and the irritation and pain isn’t persistent, then perhaps a change to comfortable footwear might be all the treatment you need. Switching to a pair of shoes that have a roomy toe box may provide enough comfort and relief for you to perform daily activities pain-free.

Always contact our office before using medication to treat a condition, but over-the-counter pain relievers, including naproxen, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen, can be effective in helping you manage some of the symptoms. Warm baths and heating pads will also help you to feel better. Also, you can redistribute the pressure placed upon your feet from your bodyweight and keep stress off of your sore bump with the use of padded shoe inserts.

When you come to Central Arkansas Foot care, we may recommend the use of splints, shoe inserts, or bunion pads to provide relief and comfort. It is also possible that we prescribe custom-prepared orthotics or shoes that have insoles and uppers designed to take pressure off of the affected toe.

If you dealing with a troublesome bunion, or want to get an early jump on treatment so it doesn’t reach that point, make an appointment with our office. You can reach our Hot Springs, AR office by calling (501) 321-4844 or use our online form to request an appointment at any of our three locations.

Hot Springs Office
3339 Central Avenue Suite F
Hot Springs, AR 71913
(501) 321-4844
   

Arkadelphia Office
2914 Cypress Rd
Arkadelphia, AR 71923
(870) 245-3003