Does your big toe point toward your second toe? Do you have a big lump on the outside of your foot at the base of your big toe? If so, you have a bunion!
The medical name for a bunion is hallux valgus, and though lots of people develop bunions, they aren’t all the same. Your bunion might just sit there, looking ugly and making some shoes impossible to wear, or your bunion might hurt -- really hurt.
Thankfully, both Dr. Richard Nichols and Dr. Joseph Harvey at Alliance Foot & Ankle Specialists have deep expertise in treating bunions. You can expect thorough, effective care that suits your circumstances, needs, and goals for your overall health.
What is Hallux Valgus (a Bunion)?
The bump that most people associate with a bunion is actually your bone, and it’s the reason your big toe is growing inward. Sometimes people get a little bunion on the outside of the foot, at the base of the littlest toe. Those are rarer and are called bunionettes, or tailor’s bunions.
As the bunion forces your toe inward, the joint is put under pressure. Over time, the joint becomes inflamed and can become painful. You may not be able to bend your toe, the skin over the joint may be red and tender, and you may feel pressure.
There are various theories about why some people get bunions. Women are far more likely to get bunions than men, and it could be because of wearing tight, pointy shoes. Genetics may also likely play a role in whether or not you get bunions. Finally, having certain types of arthritis can make it more likely you’ll develop bunions.
Surgery is the only way to correct a bunion; however, not all bunions require surgery. The best treatment for your bunion depends on all kinds of things, like how much it hurts, whether or not you can get relief from the pain with other treatments, and your medical history.
If you have a mild bunion, changing the type of shoes you wear may be enough to address the symptoms. Choosing the right shoes -- instead of the cutest shoes -- can make a big difference in your bunion pain.
Other treatments may include:
- Pads to protect your bunion
- Splints to support keep your toe in more normal position
- Exercises and stretches for your foot
- Medications to help with the pain
If your bunion gets worse, or you don’t get relief from those treatments, we may recommend surgery. Surgery is the only way to correct the misalignment of your toe, but it has risks and you may still have some symptoms after surgery.
The providers at Alliance Foot & Ankle Specialists are experts in treating bunions -- in the context of your life and with consideration for your general health. If you’d like to learn more about your treatment options for bunions, book an appointment. We have locations in Keller and Grapevine; simply call the one more convenient for you to schedule your appointment.