Bunions are a bony protrusion on the side of the foot that develops when the joint of the large toe slips out of place. Bunions can cause extensive pain and discomfort as they become inflamed and irritated from rubbing against the interior of the shoes. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent painful bunions. At the Foot & Ankle Specialists of Connecticut in Plainville, Danbury and New Milford, CT, we can help with bunion treatment and prevention, where Dr. Joseph Treadwell, Dr. Christian Davis, or Dr. Rihamary Jimenez can develop an individualized plan for you.
Cause of Bunions
Bunions are caused by the dislocation of the metatarsophalangeal joint, which is the joint connecting the big toe to the rest of the foot. The joint can become dislocated due to injury, a medical condition such as arthritis, or a foot deformity. It is also possible for bunions to develop as a result of wearing narrow, tight-fitting shoes regularly.
When the joint becomes dislocated it causes the big toe to slant toward the smaller toes, which causes the joint to stick out at the side of the foot. This bony protrusion is referred to as a bunion. Since they stick out, bunions tend to rub against the inside of the shoes. The friction produced from the constant rubbing throughout the day can cause the area to become inflamed and irritated, which often results in pain and discomfort.
Bunions can be prevented by taking certain measures to protect the feet. Our skilled podiatrists can help with bunion prevention in several ways. They can have custom orthotics created for you, which are worn inside the shoes to provide additional cushioning and support. Custom orthotics also help by correcting an irregular step pattern that could be putting a strain on the metatarsophalangeal toe joint.
Our podiatry professionals can also recommend specific exercises for strengthening the feet and improving joint functioning to help prevent bunions. In general, simply wearing supportive footwear with a low heel and adequate room in the toe box can reduce the possibility of developing painful bunions. Shoes that are narrow, pointy, too tight, or have an extremely high heel can cause the toes to be cramped together, which can result in dislocation of the metatarsophalangeal joint.
Treatment for Bunions
When bunions have not been prevented, several options are available for treating them. Once they develop, bunions will not go away on their own so it is essential to seek medical treatment. Left untreated, bunions can lead to other foot problems, such as the development of hammertoe. Bunion treatments include:
- Custom orthotics to stabilize the toe joint
- Protective padding in the shoes to reduce friction
- Removal of corns or calluses on the feet
- Foot exercises to improve joint functioning
- The use of a splint to realign the toe joint
- Surgical realignment of the metatarsophalangeal joint
- Surgical removal of the bunions
It is possible to prevent painful bunions from developing, but treatments are available when needed. We can help with both the treatment and prevention of bunions at one of our offices in Plainville, Danbury or New Milford, CT and serving the New Britain, Bristol, Southington, Farmington, New Fairfield and Ridgefield, CT, areas. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Treadwell, Dr. Davis, or Dr. Jimenez, call the Foot & Ankle Specialists of Connecticut in Danbury, CT at (203) 748-2220, New Milford, CT (860) 355-3139, and Plainville, CT (860) 747-2200.