Most people demand a lot from their feet. It has been estimated that, on average, adults take anywhere from 4,000 to 6,000 steps every day. By the time the typical American has reached the age of 50, they have walked around 75,000 miles. All of this walking may make treatment for bunions all the more needed.
What are bunions?
A bunion, or as physicians refer to them “hallux valgus.” They are often seen as bumps on the base of the large toe. These are causes when the joint at the base of the toe is pushed out of its normal position. This is often caused by years of wear and tear caused when abnormal pressure is placed on the joint from unusual movement. The result is that the toe is squeezed towards the other toes on the foot.
Out of all of the toes, the big toe carries most of a person’s weight when they are walking. This means that when there is a large bump at the base of the toe it can be hard and even painful to walk. For some people, treatment for bunions is needed to allow them to wear shoes at all.
What causes bunions?
For years, people thought the cause of bunions was wearing the wrong shoes. More and more research is showing that genetics play a large factor in the development of bunions, though the wrong shoes can also play a role. Women develop bunions as they age more often than men do. Research shows that women experience bunions at a rate of ten times that of men.
Not everyone needs treatment for bunions. One factor that determines whether a person will seek out treatment for bunions is the flexibility of the foot. When bunions develop, it is important to go to a physician.
Non-surgical treatments for bunions:
Bunions will not go away on their own but there are things you can do at home to alleviate the discomfort they cause. Here are some ways to do this:
- Keep your weight in the normal range. Adding weight to your body will increase the amount of pressure placed on the feet and make any foot problems get worse.
- Use a gel-filled pad or moleskin to protect the bunion. These products are available over the counter.
- Try shoe inserts. These can help you keep your feet in the proper position. There are prescription and over the counter remedies that can work well for this.
- Consider wearing a splint. For this treatment for bunions, you will need to get the advice of a good expert in foot health.
- Take over the counter medications. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen and naproxen sodium can ease the pain from bunions.
- Soak your feet in hot water. Some people prefer heat to ease the pain. Others find cold works better. Find what works for you and go for it.
- Wear shoes that fit your feet. About 88% of women wear shoes that are too small for them.
There are times when the best treatment for bunions is surgery.
If non-surgical treatments for bunions do not work and the pain is bad, it may be time to talk to a doctor about foot surgery. This is the only way to actually remove the bunion. Most doctors will not entertain the idea of surgery until a person has experienced the pain for a year or more.
Bunions themselves can be the cause of other foot problems such as bursitis or hammertoes. If that is the case, surgery may be the best option. Surgery may be an option for both mild cases and severe cases of bunions. When older people finally go into their doctor’s office to see about surgery for the treatment of bunions it is often because they suffer from other foot issues.
The operation to help bunions has the main goal to get the big toe back to its original position. During the operation, the ligaments, bones, and tendons are returned to their correct position. This also eliminates the telltale bump of a bunion.
There is not one kind of surgery for bunions. There are 150 different operations that can help people with bunion pain. Most of the time, doctors choose between the top 12 or 15 operations for bunions.