Shoes - they can either be a friend or foe where the health of your feet are concerned. Annually, foot doctors see scores of adults, and even children, with a troublesome foot condition that is linked to the shoes people wear.
The condition is called a bunion. It's a sore, red, painful deformity of the joint at the base of the big toe at the side of the foot. While some foot structures are inherited and bunions tend to run in families, primary care physicians and podiatrists agree that improper shoes are the perfect "breeding ground" for bunions.
Symptoms of Bunions
A bunion affects the joint at the bottom of the big toe, making it bulge outward and twisting it toward the second and even third toe. Besides changing how a foot looks and feels, a bunion will cause or contribute to:
- restricted range of motion in the affected toe or toes
- hard calluses and corns from the shoe rubbing on the bunion
- bursitis, or inflammation of the fluid-filled cushions in the foot
- metatarsalgia, inflammation of the forefoot or base of the toes
- bunionettes, very small deformities at the base of the little toe
- hammer toe, a significant bend in the middle joint of the second toe
Diagnosis and Treatment of Bunions
If you are experiencing foot pain and swelling, consult your Fairfax, Virginia podiatrist without delay. He can identify the problem by examining your feet and using x-rays to see what exactly is going on with the affected joint.
Treatment of bunions depends on how severe and uncomfortable the deformity is. Foot doctors often suggest these simple interventions for less serious bunions:
- Rest and ice the foot.
- Acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain.
- Injected cortisone (anti-inflammatory)
- Changing shoes
This last intervention is really important. The American Academy of Podiatric Medicine suggests individuals wear quality supportive shoes with arch supports and wide toe boxes. High stiletto heels with narrow toes exert crushing forces on the foot, creating the perfect scenario for bunion formation. Tight or very flat shoes are off-limits as well.
With very serious bunions, a surgical procedure called a bunionectomy may be in order. In addition, foot doctors are expert in crafting custom-made orthotics or shoe inserts which can alleviate the pressure, friction and gait issues a bunion can cause. Sometimes, special splits are used to help align the affected toe joint.
Don't Suffer With Bunions
When your feet hurt, you hurt, and so can ankles, knees and hips. If you suspect you have a bunion, call Steven R. Vetter DPM at Oakton Foot and Ankle Center PLLC. Dr. Vetter and his staff know that how your feet feel and perform affects your total well-being. Let them help you have the healthiest and happiest feet possible.
Call Dr. Vetter's Fairfax, Virginia office for a consultation at 703-352-8888.