Bunions-What to do

How many times have you heard of a “bunion” being part of a punch line to a bad joke?  For those of you who suffer from this often-times painful deformity, you know it is not a laughing matter.

Bunions can be a very painful and debilitating deformity that makes walking and shoe wear a painful experience.  A bunion is a deformity that occurs as a result of an imbalance in the foot that causes an instability of the supporting structures . The first metatarsal bone then deviates and the hallux (big toe) moves towards the lesser toes. The side of the first metatarsal also enlarges causing a protuberance on the inside of the foot.  This causes irritation with shoes and can also cause painful stiffness and arthritis as a result of the joint no longer lining up properly. Bunions occur equally in men and women, however women are more likely to have difficulties due to the type of shoes they wear. There is also a heredity factor whereby certain foot types are more predisposed (e.g. pronated or flatfeet).

There are many options for treating a bunion.  It can be treated conservatively with accomodative pads, wider shoes, even cortisone injections to alleviate irritation.  Custom orthotics can help rebalance the foot to slow the progression of the deformity.  Surgical treatment is directed at realigning the metatarsal and balancing the joint. If addressed early,  the chances of long term disability and arthritis can be  reduced.

For more information visit: http://www.adultandchildfootcare.com

William A Sachs, D.P.M., FACFAS

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