Many people who suffer from bunions do not even realize that they have this potentially painful medical condition. However, as time goes on and the bunion grows in size, they may notice discomfort or deformation of their foot. Luckily, bunions are a treatable and sometimes preventable condition. Find out more about recognizing, preventing and treating bunions with help from your Bethlehem, PA podiatrist.
Bunions: You mean not everyone has this bump on their feet?
Bunions, which begin as a small, bony growth and get larger slowly over time, are not always noticeable at first. Some people may go their entire lives without feeling bunion pain. However, it is important to recognize and monitor a bunion’s growth to ensure it does not become larger and painful. Symptoms of a bunion include:
- a large lump on the inside of the foot, located at the base of the big toe
- pain or swelling around the lump
- soreness around the front of the foot
- calluses or thickening of the skin around the big toe
- reduced range of motion of the big toe
How are bunions treated?
In their beginning stages, bunions usually do not cause discomfort or cause for alarm. However, bunions get larger over time, causing the big toe to grow toward the smaller toes at an unnatural angle, eventually causing damage to the bones, muscles and connective tissues in the foot. If bunion pain occurs, soaking or icing the feet several times a day helps relieve pain and swelling. Over-the-counter medications also help relieve pain. Special orthotics, worn inside the shoe, help evenly distribute the body’s weight onto the feet. Bunion surgery to remove the bunion and realign the toes becomes necessary in severe cases.
How can I prevent bunions from growing larger?
If your bunion becomes painful, you should schedule an appointment with your Bethlehem podiatrist. Until then, avoid wearing narrow, tight or high-heeled shoes, as they promote bunion growth. Try to wear comfortable shoes with a large enough toe box to accommodate the shape of the foot. If your feet roll inwards while walking, you may benefit from wearing more supportive shoes or using special orthotics to prevent bunion growth.
For more information on bunion treatment and prevention, please contact Dr. Robert A. Diamond, Dr. Brent H. Bernstein and Dr. Jung H. Lee at Diamond Podiatry in Bethlehem, PA. Call (610) 865-0311 to schedule your foot examination today!