You may have memories of seeing your grandma’s feet as a child with “crooked or gnarled toes”. Unfortunately, if that’s the case then you too are at risk for developing similar conditions. Bunions are often inherited, but can occur for other reasons as well. They are more common in women, but happen to men as well. Sometimes they occur in kids, but most often they happen later on into adulthood.
So what exactly is a bunion?
It’s a bony lump that forms on the joint at the base of the big toe accompanied by outward shifting of the big toe itself towards the smaller toes. This arises from shifting of the bone alignment in the foot, not a new or growing bone. Similar deformities can occur at the base of the pinky toe, called a tailor’s bunion.
Pain usually happens from shoe pressure rubbing on the bump or friction between the adjacent toes. Surprisingly some people never get pain from even the largest of bunion deformities. This usually requires a radical change in shoe wear to accommodate the bunion by wearing extra wide tennis shoes, open sandals, or the dreaded “orthopedic shoes”. Aside from roomier shoes, there are some pads and custom shoe inserts called orthotics which may help alleviate the pain.
The only permanent solution for a bunion requires surgery. There are different types of surgery which may be needed depending on the size of the bunion. In general, if you are considering surgery it is best not to wait too long as the bunion can deform the adjacent second toe over time causing a hammertoe which can then require additional surgical procedures to correct. It is also best to have surgery done before your 80’s when your bone density, strength, and overall health are better, which will assist with recovery.
If you live in or near Colorado Springs, set up an appointment with one of the top podiatrists – Dr. Judd Davis at A New Step Foot & Ankle Clinics. He will meet with you and take time to understand your situation, your needs and what steps and treatment options you have to improve your foot health.