When you’re working or going out for the evening, it’s understandable that you want to look your best. You put on nice clothes, do your hair, and don your totally uncomfortable but great-looking shoes. You hobble the day away, smiling through the pain, and wait for the moment you finally get to remove them and massage your aching feet.
Pointy-toed, too-tight shoes are more than a daily inconvenience. Over time, these shoes can actually change the shape of your feet and lead to a condition called bunions, or hallux valgus.
These painful, unsightly bumps develop on the big toe joint when pressure is repeatedly put on it, causing the big toe to lean toward the second toe. Over an extended period of time, the structure of the bone and joint changes, which results in the dreaded bunion bump.
Although anyone can get a bunion, we see it more commonly in women due to tight, pointy, high-heeled shoes. Because specific foot shapes are more prone to bunions, we also see an increase in bunion diagnoses in people with a family history of bunions.
If you frequently wear shoes that force your toes together, we strongly recommend scheduling a consultation with Jeffery W. LaMour, DPM, PA, to determine the overall condition of your feet. Once we’ve determined that you do, in fact, have a bunion, here are the next steps.
Change Your Footwear
Once you’ve developed a bunion, the first thing you should do is contact us immediately to schedule an appointment. Dr. LaMour will likely recommend that you switch your footwear right away to something with lower heels and roomier toes. Dr. LaMour may also prescribe custom orthotic inserts to help manage your bunions and minimize pain.
If we are able to diagnose your bunions early enough, the joint still may be flexible enough to coax back into position without surgery. One of the best ways to do this is by using a splint, typically at night, to keep the toe straight and try to realign the joint.
Splinting may not be a permanent solution, especially if the bunion has been developing for a while.
It’s no secret that bunions are painful, especially if you are on your feet a lot. Dr. LaMour offers recommendations to help manage the pain, which typically include exercise, ice packs, warm foot soaks, and oral or injected pain medication. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen may ease bunion pain.
When we’re able to catch bunions early, we are usually able to save you from surgery. Unfortunately, we don’t always catch them early enough and cannot avoid surgery in every case, especially in severe or long-term cases where the joint has become arthritic. When surgery is called for, Dr. LaMour uses the latest, most advanced medical equipment and techniques to realign your joint and get you back on your feet as quickly as possible.
Bunions are no fun. They’re painful, unsightly, inconvenient, and, if untreated, can lead to arthritis. Don’t wait until it’s too late to manage your bunions without surgery. If you have a history of wearing too-tight shoes or think you may be developing a bunion, please schedule a consultation with Dr. LaMour to determine the condition of your joints. We’ll help you to manage and even reverse the bunion’s effects on your feet, body, and overall health. Get ready to once again put your best foot forward.