What Are Bunions and How Do You Treat Them?

  • Blog >
  • What Are Bunions and How Do You Treat Them?
RSS Feed

What Are Bunions and How Do You Treat Them?

Bunions range in severity from a mild nuisance to a very painful condition. Read on to learn the anatomy of bunions and how best to care for them. Dr. Steven Vetter and Dr. Jugal Dharia at the Oakton Foot and Ankle Center often treat bunions in Fairfax, VA.

What is a bunion?

Bunions are bony protrusions that develop on the inner side of your foot where your big toe joins the rest of your foot. As a bunion progresses, it may cause your big toe to be misaligned and point inward, sometimes resting on top of the next toe.  

What causes bunions?

Research on the etiology of bunions is inconclusive, therefore a definitive cause of them is not known. Rubbing and excessive friction in the toe area is the main cause of concern regarding the formation and worsening of a bunion.  Several known risk factors may lead to the formation of a bunion later in your life, such as:

  • Genetics. You may be genetically inclined to develop a bunion.
  • An injury to a foot, minor or major. This can include excessive stress placed on the foot.
  • Wearing tight shoes or commonly wearing pointy-toed shoes and/or high heels.
  • Other conditions such as Rheumatoid arthritis

How is a bunion diagnosed?

Bunions are generally easy to diagnose because of the physical deformity that this condition causes. However, your doctor may still advise you to have an X-ray or other imaging of the foot to make an accurate diagnosis. Imaging may be recommended to ensure the integrity of your toes and feet is intact, and there are no fractures or soft tissue injuries.

Below is a list of symptoms that you should discuss with our podiatrists in Fairfax, VA that bunions may cause:

  • The frequent formation of callouses both in the area of your big toe and the rest of your foot
  • Swelling around the big toe
  • Decreased range of motion
  • The appearance of a bump on the inside of the foot

How are bunions treated?

There are several steps you can take to prevent a bunion from forming or stop a current bunion from worsening.

  • Be aware of any changes to the shape of your feet.
  • Make sure that your shoes fit properly, especially in the toe area.  Avoid high heels and pointy-toed shoes
  • Buy a pair of new shoes in the evening as your feet will be slightly larger and swollen in the evening hours.
  • Get custom orthotics for your shoes to help distribute weight evenly across your feet.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Treat your feet! Soak your feet in warm water with Epsom Salts.
  • A foot massage and elevation of your feet will aid circulation to and from your feet.

If conservative measures do not help the pain, surgery may be necessary.  Schedule a consultation with Dr. Vetter or Dr. Dharia at the Oakton Foot and Ankle Center in Fairfax, VA to discuss bunion treatment by calling (703) 352-8888.