Bunions are a common foot problem, and when they develop, you can experience chronic pain in the big toe joint that affects your mobility. Scheduling a visit with a foot and ankle specialist is a wise choice and an important step in getting relief from bunion pain.
At Concord Podiatry, board-certified podiatrist Dr. David E. Biss frequently sees patients with bunions and finds effective solutions. If you’re having foot pain, don’t put off scheduling a visit with Dr. Biss. Bunions can worsen without intervention, and our team can help you get back to pain-free functioning.
A bunion develops gradually over time as pressure on the big toe joint causes the normal anatomy of the joint to change, moving it out of alignment. A bony hump forms on the outside of the big toe, and the big toe angles toward the second toe. This can cause significant pain, even when you aren't walking.
Signs and symptoms of a bunion include:
Wearing shoes that are too narrow can increase the pressure on the big toe joint and cause a bunion to form. In other cases, the structure of your foot raises the risk of developing a bunion. People with rheumatoid arthritis are also more likely to develop bunions.
Here are our top tips for relieving bunion pain:
Swelling in the joint at the base of your big toe is the most prominent bunion symptom. Your body's natural response to an injury is inflammation. NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) can aid with swelling and relieve pain.
Some examples of NSAIDs include, aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen.
Using a combination of heat and cold therapy can ease bunion pain. Cold therapy helps to reduce swelling by constricting arteries. Applying ice can soothe your bunion and minimize swelling.
Heat therapy promotes blood flow and helps to relax stiff joints and muscles. Soaking your feet in warm water can feel wonderful when bunion pain flares up.
Staying active is an excellent way to keep your feet strong and healthy. Specific exercises can ease bunion pain and strengthen your feet. It’s also important to rest your feet when necessary and avoid things that make bunion pain worse, such as wearing tight shoes.
If you have a bunion, it’s important to choose the right shoes. Low-heeled shoes with a roomy toe box reduce pressure on your big toe and give your toes plenty of room. This keeps your toes from squishing or rubbing against each other, which can cause increased pain and bunion issues.
If at-home measures fail to relieve your bunion pain, let Dr. Biss know. We can try alternative bunion treatment options to minimize inflammation and help you get some pain relief. For example, customized shoe inserts, known as orthotics, or a night splint, both of which work to properly align and support your foot, may be beneficial.
Conservative methods are the first approach to treating bunions. However, if bunion pain persists despite these therapies or if it worsens, Dr. Biss may recommend surgery.
There are a variety of surgical approaches for correcting a bunion. The goal of bunion surgery is to restore normal alignment of the big toe joint, which will relieve pain.
If you’re struggling with foot pain, reach out to our office in Plymouth or Concord, New Hampshire to set up a visit with Dr. Biss.