Can You Keep Bunions From Getting Worse?

Do you have a bunion or two? This foot deformity is very common in the U.S., with 23% of those ages 18-65 – and 35% of those over age 65 – having at least one bunion (data from the National Institutes of Health).

A bunion is an enlarged big toe joint. The toe often moves out of place because of the growth and pushes against the adjacent toes. This painful deformity becomes inflamed and also irritates the skin where the growth rubs against footwear.

Bunions can be caused by wearing narrow shoes, an abnormal gait, a congenital deformity, a foot injury or simply heredity. Those with arthritis, inflammatory joint disease or flat feet can be more susceptible to developing bunions.

Stavros O. Alexopoulos, DPM urges you to come in for a podiatry visit if you suspect that you have a bunion on your foot. This bone deformity will not heal by itself, and without proper treatment, it will get worse and cause more pain. Chronic arthritis or bursitis can set in and it may become difficult to find comfortable shoes.

How We Treat Bunions

First, it’s essential to alter your footwear so your toes and feet have plenty of room. Then, we’ll work to relieve the pain and pressure on your toes with:

  • Shoe padding to relieve inflammation and reduce friction.
  • A night-time splint to help realign the joint.
  • A cortisone injection to reduce joint inflammation.
  • Custom-fitted orthotics to reposition the foot and help stabilize the joint.
  • Special exercises for mobility and flexibility.

Based on the degree of deformity and pain, we may discuss bunion surgery. This surgery (called a bunionectomy) removes the bunion and helps realign the toe.

Steps To Keep Bunions From Getting Worse

  • Wear well-fitting shoes made of quality materials.
  • Avoid footwear that crowds the toes and puts excess pressure on the joints.
  • Shoes should have wide and deep toe boxes with good arch support and flatter heels. Athletic shoes and supportive sandals are best. Avoid flip-flops and slipper styles that cause the feet to pronate when walking.
  • Stay away from shoes that cause your feet to slide forward since you’ll eventually damage your toes as they hit the inside of the shoe.
  • Have your feet measured each time you shop. Our feet flatten as we age and you may need a bigger size.

We Have Solutions To Your Bunion Pain

Dr. Alexopoulos, board certified podiatrist has extensive experience with all types of bunion treatments as well as other foot and ankle problems and injuries. Many treatments and surgeries can be addressed right here in our office. Please call our Chicago office at (773) 561-8100 or request an appointment via the website.