Bunions are bony protrusions along the side of the foot near the base of the big toe. They can develop when the metatarsophalangeal joint that connects the large toe to the rest of the foot becomes dislocated. Bunions will not heal on their own, but different treatment options are available. Plus, there are steps you can take to prevent them in the first place. Dr. Peter Siroka, the experienced podiatrist at our office in Stamford, CT, can help with bunions treatment and prevention.
Causes of Bunions
The primary cause of bunions is a dislocated toe joint. When the metatarsophalangeal joint slips out of place, the big toe slants toward the smaller ones. This slanted position can cause the dislocated joint to push up against the side of the foot and protrude outward, resulting in the formation of a bony bump which is known as a bunion. In addition to the discomfort of a dislocated big toe joint, the friction produced when the interior of the shoes rub against the bunions can also lead to pain and discomfort.
Many factors can contribute to a dislocated metatarsophalangeal toe joint. A toe or foot injury is one possible cause. Other causes include foot deformities or certain medical conditions, such as arthritis. Additionally, wearing shoes with high heels or that are extremely narrow or too tight on a regular basis can also cause the metatarsophalangeal joint to become dislocated. Bunions can develop when any of these factors lead to dislocation of the metatarsophalangeal joint.
It is possible to prevent bunions by avoiding some of the factors that can contribute to a dislocated toe joint. For example, wearing shoes that have enough room for the toes so they are not cramped together can minimize the possibility of developing bunions. Further, wearing shoes with a low heel is also helpful.
Another way to prevent bunions from forming is by wearing custom orthotics inside your shoes. Orthotics provide cushioning, stability, and support. Additionally, custom orthotics correct foot alignment problems that could be putting excess strain on the metatarsophalangeal joint. Wearing orthotics can help reduce friction, inflammation, instability, pain, and discomfort.
Treatments for Bunions
Several methods are available for treating bunions. It is best to seek professional treatment if you do develop bunions since they will not go away on their own. Some options available at our office in Stamford for treating bunions include:
- Special exercises to increase joint mobility
- Custom orthotics to stabilize the toe joint
- Protective padding in the shoes to reduce friction
- The use of a night splint to realign the toe joint
- Removal of foot corns and calluses
- Surgical intervention
There are two main methods for performing bunion surgery. One approach is referred to as a head procedure. It involves strategically cutting the bone just behind the toe joint so that the joint can be repositioned. A pin or screw is used to hold everything in place so the joint does not become dislocated again. The other method is called a base procedure. This approach is a bit more involved and treats the bone near or behind the joint of the big toe. Different methods can be used in based procedures to return the bone and joint back to the proper position.
We can help you prevent bunions with individualized recommendations, such as specific exercises for improving joint mobility or custom orthotics to reduce friction and correct faulty foot alignment. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Peter Siroka for help preventing or treating bunions by calling our office in Stamford, CT, at (203) 614-8185.