Although bunions may start out as a minor irritation, left untreated they will become a major disabling condition. This bone deformity starts when the big toe begins to move towards the second toe. As the toe moves out of place, the joint at the base of the toe becomes enlarged, causing a bump to form, protruding from the side of the big toe. Footwear creates friction with the bony protrusion, rubbing the skin raw and making it uncomfortable to wear shoes. As time goes on and the toe moves further out of place, corns and calluses may form on the bunion. It is also possible that bursitis and arthritis may result from a bunion, making walking extremely painful.
Seek Treatment Early
Bunions will not get better without treatment. At Paul S. DeMarco, DPM, we urge patients to make an appointment to get a bunion examined as soon as they begin to suspect one is forming. Our board certified foot and ankle surgeon, Dr. Paul S. DeMarco will examine your toe and foot and most likely also order an x-ray (which can be done conveniently right in our Somers Point office) to be able to determine the severity of the bunion and possibly its cause. In treating your bunion, the podiatrist will want to reduce the pain and discomfort you are experiencing and also look for ways to slow the progression of the deformity.
Several non-surgical treatment options are available, including:
- Padding—soft felt material can be used to protect the skin on the bunion and prevent friction and further skin irritation
- Orthotics—in some cases, the cause of the bunion is improper foot mechanics. Orthotic devices worn inside the shoes can help correct the position of the foot and provide joint stability to help slow the progression of the bunion and make walking more comfortable.
- Changes in footwear—the primary cause of bunions is wearing shoes that are too tight in the toe box area. Choosing shoes that are roomy and do not put pressure on the bunion will help.
- Night splints—these may be used to help align the toe joint properly. This treatment is particularly useful for adolescents whose bone structure is still developing.
- Exercise—toe and foot exercises can keep stiffness and arthritis at bay and may be able to improve joint mobility.
In severe cases, surgery to remove the bunion and correct the misalignment of the toe may be the only option. Don’t suffer unnecessarily. Make an appointment at our conveniently located Cape May County office by calling: (609) 927-4894.