A bunion (also known as hallux valgus), is a deformity of the joint at the base of the big toe that causes the bone to protrude, forming a bump on the inside of the foot. Bunions are often painful and cause the big toe to slant away from the joint bone in the direction of the other toes. Bunions result from excessive pressure on the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint, which causes pain and inflammation. In addition to protruding from the side of the foot, the skin over a bunion may also become red and develop a callous or corn. The podiatrists at The Foot and Ankle Center in St. Louis, MO, advise patients to schedule an appointment when pain or sensitivity persists for more than two weeks, and does not respond to self-care and conservative methods like rest or over the counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatories.
Bunion Prevention and Treatment in St. Louis, MO
Bunions typically start out small, but get progressively worse over time, making it difficult to walk or even wear shoes in many cases as the protrusion grows larger and the joint becomes more inflamed. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), bunions are more common in women, although they can affect anyone. The most common causes are wearing tight, poorly fitting shoes that squeeze the toes, heredity or inflammatory disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, which leads to joint pain and deterioration.
Podiatrists typically prescribe conservative treatments like ice and ibuprofen to relieve swelling and inflammation as the initial method of treatment. Switching to comfortable and supportive footwear to relieve pressure on the joint, and shoe inserts like padding to prevent friction between the bunion and shoe or custom orthotic supports are also common. If conservative treatments fail and the pain and inflammation from a larger bunion make it difficult to walk and put pressure on the toe, a podiatrist may recommend surgery to shave the protruding portion of the bone and help to properly realign the toe.
Find a Podiatrist in St. Louis, MO
A little foot pain from time to time is normal. But persistent pain or swelling can be a sign of an injury or orthopedic condition. For more information on bunion treatment and recovery, contact The Foot and Ankle Center by calling (314) 487-9300 to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist in St. Louis today.