A bunion is a bony protrusion that develops at the base of the big toe due to a combination of genetics (an inherited foot structure), wearing narrow shoes, and spending long periods of time on your feet. Symptoms of a bunion, also referred to as hallux valgus, include a physical bump that appears on the side of the big toe and pain, which can get worse with walking.
If you have this problem, it means the structure of the foot’s bones has changed, causing the big toe to lean toward the rest of the toes. To make matters worse, it is very likely that the deformity will progress with time, which can cause a worsening of symptoms.
Why Bunions Develop
Bunions usually develop at the metatarsophalangeal joint (MTP), where the long bone meets the first bone of the toe or the phalanx bone. Bunions are slow to develop. In fact, it could take years before you begin to see a bony protrusion. However, underneath, there are structural changes taking place. The phalanx bone is angled toward the second toe, while the MTP joint also moves toward the inside of the foot. It creates an unnatural shape of the foot and causes a misalignment. The MTP joint also becomes inflamed, as it flexes with every step, slowly causing the bunion to develop. As this continues, for instance, if you keep wearing narrow shoes that shift your big toe in an unnatural or awkward position, you could be looking at a bunion soon.
Women are more likely to wear narrow shoes, such as stilettos, ballet flats, and peep-toe shoes. These all have a narrow toe box that squeezes the toes together. Moreover, with high-heel shoes, the heel is elevated, which concentrates pressure in the forefoot region. Notice how walking in these shoes is also very uncomfortable, as there is an abnormal distribution of your weight and greater pressure placed on the forefoot, including the big toe. Wearing the same shoes can also cause the bunions to hurt. However, even if you were to change into different shoes, the bunions can still keep hurting.
Bunions hurt because of pressure and inflammation. Wearing shoes with a wider toe box, made with accommodating materials that cushion, protect, and allow the forefoot to stretch, low heels, and shoes with a zero-drop structure (so that the ball of the foot aligns evenly with the heel), is a start. However, successful treatment of bunions is administered by a foot and ankle specialist.
Bunion Treatment in Naples, FL
At The Joint Replacement Institute, our podiatrist, Dr. Cody Togher, is highly experienced in treating bunions and relieving bunion pain quickly. Bunions may be treated with non-surgical methods, but Dr. Weaver deftly performs bunion surgery to restore proper alignment of the bones.
With her years of experience treating all manner of foot and ankle issues, Dr. Weaver will leave you more than satisfied with the care you receive. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Weaver, call us today at (239) 261-2663 or use our online appointment request form. We look forward to giving you the highest quality, patient-centric podiatry care in our clinic!