Bunions are a common foot problem affecting up to one-third of adults in the United States. A bunion forms when the bones in the front part of the foot move out of place, forcing the joint at the base of the big toe to jut outward. A bunion is characterized by a bump at the big toe joint, redness or swelling on the skin over the affected area, pain, and limited movement of the big toe. High heels, inflammatory arthritis (rheumatoid arthritis), foot alignment issues, and ill-fitting shoes are some of the known risk factors for bunions.
The only way to totally get rid of a bunion is via surgical intervention, but there are simple strategies you can employ to either prevent its formation or to manage the symptoms of an existing one. Let’s check them out.
1.) Maintain a healthy weight.
Your weight contributes to the brunt your feet bear every time you take a step. Maintaining a healthy weight can both prevent bunions from forming and reducing the pressure on your big toe joint when you already have one.
2.) Only wear properly fitting shoes.
The easiest and most convenient way to prevent bunions is by wearing the appropriate footwear. This means wearing shoes that:
- Are snug, but not too tight
- Are comfortable (with a big toe box)
- Provide good arch support
A good rule of thumb for purchasing shoes is to do it in the afternoon or at night—not in the morning. This is because as the day goes on, fluid gathers in your feet, causing them to get bigger by the end of the day.
3.) Cover the bunion with a soft pad or cushion.
Padding or cushioning your bunions–using moleskin or gel-filled pads which you can purchase in drugstores—helps shield your bunions from pressure and irritation. Just make sure that your shoes have a big toe box, so you can wear them comfortably even with the pads.
4.) See a foot doctor.
Foot doctors, also called podiatrists, specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of the entire range of conditions and injuries that affect the feet and ankles.
To help you manage your bunions, your foot doctor may give you an oral anti-inflammatory medication or cortisone injection, whichever they deem is necessary for your case.
Your foot type and biomechanics can play a role in your susceptibility to developing bunions. Your foot doctor may also recommend prescription orthotics for you to place in your shoes to support your feet, reduce strain on your big toe joint, and slow the progression of the bunion development.
5.) Pamper your feet.
Pampering your feet regularly is also beneficial for both preventing the formation of bunions and for relieving the discomforts of an existing one.
You can relax your tired feet by:
- Soaking them in warm water and Epsom salt (helps soothe pain and reduce inflammation)
- Self-massaging them
- Doing gentle foot stretches
Bunion Treatment in Naples, FL
If your bunion is causing you chronic pain and you’re seeking effective treatment for it, visit us at the Joint Replacement Institute for a consultation with our board-certified podiatrist, Dr. Jaime Weaver.
Dr. Weaver is passionate about providing comprehensive care for all manner of foot and ankle issues. She will create an appropriate treatment plan based on what she deems as the cause of your bunions. If foot alignment is the culprit, Dr. Weaver has consistently achieved excellent treatment outcomes using custom orthotics to take pressure off your big toe joint.