If you're noticing a bony swelling at the base of your big toe, the chances are you have a bunion. Such swellings aren't the only sign; you may also notice your big toe pointing in the wrong direction, callused skin on your big toe, pain in the area when wearing tight shoes, or changes to the shape of your foot that make wearing your usual footwear difficult. If you suspect you have a bunion, there are several ways your podiatrist can help.
They'll assess your footwear
Many bunions arise from poorly fitting footwear and depending on the nature of the deformity you may find many shoes make the problem worse. Podiatry isn't just about treating problems, it's about preventing them too. As such, your podiatrist can assess the suitability of your footwear and make recommendations to ease the pain.
They'll advise you on orthotics
Although there is little evidence that orthotics will affect the outcome of your bunions in the long term, using them may ease the pain for now. Orthotics are devices you place inside your foot to realign the bones. Through providing support in the right places, they can ease the pressure on your bunion, leading to less pain and easier walking. Alternatives to these inserts include bunion pads, which prevent your shoes from rubbing against your big toe. You can purchase them from pharmacies and they're particularly handy if you're developing a callus or sore skin.
If necessary, they'll secure a surgical referral
In some instances, there are minor procedures your podiatrist can perform to ease the bunion. For example, callus removal or wearing down hard skin that increases the pressure on your big toe. You may find you need several of these appointments throughout the year to prevent calluses developing, but the upkeep is well worth the benefits of a less painful life. If your bunions become particularly severe, your podiatry team may pass you onto an orthopaedic specialist. While not everyone who has bunions is a candidate for surgery, opting for a procedure can straighten your foot and reduce the pain significantly.
The treatment you receive for your bunions largely depends on several factors, including your age, occupation, and underlying conditions. In some cases, you may find a multidisciplinary team helps, especially if you have a condition such as gout or diabetes. Your treatment plan will start with your podiatrist, who can perform an accurate assessment and determine what steps to take next.
Hi, my name is Julie, and in the past, I have been too embarrassed to wear sandals or flip flops to the beach. While all my friends had beautiful, silky smooth feet, I had crusty, dry and sometimes fungus-laden feet. My options seemed to be socks with sandals or avoiding the beach altogether. Since there was no way I was going to do either of those, I met with a podiatrist and launched on a journey to fix, protect and maintain my feet. Along the way, I learned a ton of facts, home remedies and foot protection strategies. I plan to include all of those ideas and more in this blog, and I hope the posts here help you.