The term bunion refers to the bump that grows on the side of the first joint of the big toe.
Bunions can often occur in those who wear high heels or cowboy boots. Bunions can be painful and will worsen without treatment.
Marshfield Clinic employs specialists who are trained in treatment of bunions and other deformities of the foot.
In most cases, your doctor will recommend non-surgical procedures to relieve your pain. Those treatments may include:
Simply changing to shoes that are wider and less pointed will usually decrease the pressure on the bunion and stop its progression.
Using ice packs at regular intervals on a daily basis can help to reduce pain and swelling.
The combination of non-steroidal medication and soaking the feet in a solution of warm water and vinegar can also be effective.
Pain relief may include physical therapy on the affected region to build up strength and flexibility.
Walkers, canes and other assistive devices may be helpful as a support mechanism.
Your physician may also recommend support devices like bunion pads and toe spacers to reduce pain and pressure on the affected area.
When non-surgical options prove unsuccessful, your doctor may suggest a surgical approach to remove the bunion and realign the bones of the big toe. The surgery, known as a bunionectomy, can take two forms:
- The most common technique is to surgically fracture and realign the big toe using pins, screws or wires to stabilize the bones of the toe.
- In another procedure, a wedge-shaped piece of bone from the affected joint is removed, straightening the angle of the toe. Again, hardware is used for stabilization.