As you get older, your feet are more and more likely to be affected by foot deformities like bunions and hammertoes. These conditions may be painless, or you may experience symptoms of foot pain. If the severity of your bunions keeps increasing over time, it might be time to consider surgery.
At Optima Foot and Ankle of Bend, Oregon, our team of expert podiatrists, under the leadership of Dr. Laura Schweger and Dr. Evan M. Ross, can advise you on the best approach to take when it comes to your bunions. Here’s what you need to know.
Do you have bunion problems?
Bunions appear like large bumps on the front part of your foot. The condition is actually caused by a misalignment of the first joint at the base of your big toe joint. This joint is known as your metatarsophalangeal joint (MTP). If you have bunions, your MTP leans outward rather than staying straight, pressing your big toe inward and creating the characteristic bunion bump.
The deformation or discomfort caused by a bad bunion can keep you from staying active in the ways you want. Large bunions can also make it a challenge to find footwear that fits! And, over time, bunions can worsen from a primarily cosmetic issue to become a serious podiatry concern.
Treating your bunions
Dr. Schweger and Dr. Ross offer multiple options for bunion treatment from their state-of-the-art offices. Our team pursues the most conservative treatment options for your bunions before proceeding to more intensive options like surgery.
Conservative treatment options for bunions include changing your footwear to shoes with bigger toe boxes, or using orthotic inserts or custom orthotics to realign your toes. Toe exercises may also be able to help. These types of remedies often work well for people whose bunion problems are mostly a cosmetic concern.
You can seek pain relief from discomfort related to bunions by taking over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which can also help with redness and swelling in the affected toe. Icing therapy and elevation can also help your feet heal.
Is bunion surgery right for you?
Here’s a checklist of points to consider when it comes to potentially getting bunion surgery:
- Do your bunions remain painful even after trying adjustments to your footwear or other podiatric support?
- Do you struggle to walk without substantial pain?
- Is your big toe chronically swollen and stiff, showing the presence of inflammation that can trigger arthritis?
- Has your big toe lost flexibility? Is it cramping your other toes, disrupting your gait?
- Are you at risk for long-term foot structure problems (as opposed to facing a mainly cosmetic problem)?
If these points are true of you, you might need bunion surgery.
Our team carefully reviews your symptoms, gait, health history, and more to help you decide if bunion surgery or other forms of treatment are right for you.
To get started healing from bunions, contact Optima Foot and Ankle over the phone or online today to schedule your initial evaluation.