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Bunions are one of the most common foot problems in America. Having bunions on your feet can cause discomfort and affect your ability to perform daily activities. Whether you're seeking information on bunion symptoms, treatment options, or preventive measures, you're in the right place. Eastern Idaho Foot Clinic offers all the information you need.

What Are Bunions?

A bunion is a small lump of bone that appears on the joint of your big toe. When bones in the front of your foot become displaced, your big toe may turn inward. As it pushes on the adjacent toe, it forces the big toe's joint outward to create a bunion. The skin over the bunion will often become red, sore, and even swollen. You can also develop bunions, called bunionettes, in your littlest toe joint.

Bunion Pain and Discomfort

Depending on the severity of your bunions, you may only experience slight discomfort–especially if you seek medical treatment quickly. However, they can become worse if left untreated. Eventually, they can deform the feet, affecting your ability to walk and stand.

Symptoms of Bunions

Common symptoms of bunions include the following:

  • A bump sticking out from the base of your foot where your toe joint is located
  • Corns or calluses
  • Persistent or intermittent pain
  • Redness or soreness in your big toe joint area

Common Causes of Bunions

The exact causes of bunions are unknown. However, some factors are thought to increase the likelihood of developing bunions, such as the following:

  • Birth deformities
  • Genetics
  • Inflammatory issues such as rheumatoid arthritis
  • Injuries or excess stress on the foot
  • Wearing uncomfortable shoes (high heels, pointed-toe shoes, or shoes that are too small/too narrow)

In many cases, excellent foot care will prevent bunions. Taking cautionary measures to prevent the formation of bunions is much easier than treating them.

Bunion Treatment Options

While the cause of your bunions may be unknown, there are several options for treatment, many of which you can perform in public or at home.

Wear loose-fitting shoes 

Wearing loose-fitting shoes is an effective method for reducing pain and inflammation and preventing bunions altogether. Be sure to avoid shoes that are too small or have a pointed tip, as these crowd your toes. Instead, choose appropriately sized shoes with a boxed toe.

Cold and heat therapy

Soaking your feet in a tub of cold water can help reduce inflammation, as it constricts your blood vessels. You can also use ice packs to achieve the same effect if you prefer to avoid getting your feet wet.

Immersing your feet in warm water can improve blood flow and help relax sore joints and muscles. Heating pads can also relieve cramping or pain.

Balancing cold and heat therapy is ideal for minimizing pain.

Rest or sit when possible

Depending on your daily schedule, you may spend a lot of time on your feet. If you are experiencing pain related to bunions, try to rest or sit down whenever possible.

Use orthotics or other foot accessories

Using other-the-counter shoe inserts, bunion splints, bunion toe separators, and bunion pads can help reduce pain and even straighten out the big toe. They are widely available online for immediate purchase, but they can also be prescribed and customized to fit your foot perfectly.

Take medication

In certain instances, your podiatrist may be able to prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to mitigate the pain and reduce swelling caused by bunions. Many of these medications are available over-the-counter.

Get surgery

Surgery may also be a viable way of treating bunions in severe cases, but only after all other options have been explored. Surgery may have undesirable side effects and is normally regarded as a last resort for those with chronic pain.

Contact Us Today

Even in minor cases of bunions, you should see a podiatrist to determine the most effective path forward. If you're dealing with pain from bunions, contact Eastern Idaho Foot Clinic to schedule an appointment with one of the experienced members of our team.