Bunions are bony projections or lumps that form along the side of the big toe where the toe meets the foot. They occur when the toe joint is forced out of its normal alignment by uneven or excessive pressures exerted against the joint. Bunions are more common among people with arthritis and among those with certain types of inherited or congenital foot shape or gait patterns, and they can also develop as a result of joint injury. Wearing ill-fitting shoes that crowd the toes or force the toes downward can also contribute to bunion symptoms.
Bunions can cause significant pain if not properly treated, and the bulge they create can make it difficult to find shoes that fit properly. Without treatment, the joint can continue to become misshapen, eventually forcing the big toe to cross over the neighboring toes. Over time, pain and inflammation in the joint can become severe, interfering with many activities and making simple movements like walking uncomfortable. Arthritis can also develop in the joint, causing additional pain and decreased mobility.
In their very early stages, mild bunions may resolve by altering the type of footwear, opting for shoes that provide plenty of support and ample room for the toes. Custom orthotics or supportive pads can be used to relieve pressure on the joint and the soft tissues surrounding the big toe joint, and physical therapy and gentle stretching can help keep the joint flexible and prevent the onset of arthritis. Splints may be worn especially at night to coax the joint back into its proper position and to support it during healing. In more severe cases, bunion surgery may be required to reshape and reposition the joint. Bunion surgery can be performed using different techniques depending on each patient's needs. During the procedure, the joint will be carefully realigned, and tiny screws or pins may be used to hold the joint in its proper place to prevent bunions from recurring.
At The Center for Foot Disorders, we accept most major insurance plans. Here is a short-list of just some of the most popular plans we accept. Please contact our office if you do not see your insurance provider listed.
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