A hallux valgus is the medical term for a bunion — a bony bump that grows next to your big toe joint. Some telltale signs of a bunion that are caused by this growing bump are your toes pushing inward, joint swelling, and redness. Another type of bunion can develop next to the pinky toe called a tailor’s bunion, but these are rarer.
In addition to being a nuisance, bunions can affect your mobility and gait (the way you walk). If left untreated, they can also cause other foot deformities, like hammertoe.
Our team at Premier Foot & Ankle, with five convenient Texas locations, has extensive experience diagnosing and treating bunions successfully, and we educate our patients about what they can do to diminish their chances of developing a bunion.
A bunion’s beginning
You may wonder what leads to the development of a bunion. Wearing ill-fitting shoes is the most common cause — think sky-high heels and pointy toes, shoes that are too small, and any other constrictive style. Osteoarthritis and foot trauma can also be to blame. Some people are genetically predisposed to bunions.
By getting treatment for your bunion sooner rather than later, you may be able to avoid other foot problems down the road or worsening pain from your bunion. But how do you know a bunion is brewing? These three signals often precede the visible bump that’s emblematic of a bunion:
1. Toe joint pain and tenderness
Before a bunion becomes obvious, you may notice pain on the interior part of your foot, where your big toe joint is located, and inflammation-fueled sensitivity.
2. Skin changes
Before a bump appears, you may observe redness of your skin surrounding the joint. This may even be accompanied by a feeling of warmth on your skin where the bunion is developing. Calluses can also develop on your joint.
3. Limited movement
You might feel joint stiffness that makes it harder to move your feet freely. This, in turn, can negatively affect your mobility, making it more difficult to walk, run, jump, and play sports or engage in other activities you enjoy.
Once your bunion bump becomes apparent, you’re at risk for developing corns or calluses on the skin where your bunion is and in between other toes as the pressure from the bunion compresses them further. If your bunion becomes more severe, it constricts the movement of all your other toes as well.
Effective treatments for bunions
If you’re living with the pain, discomfort, and mobility problems that an advanced-stage bunion causes, don’t lose hope. We offer innovative treatments that address your specific symptoms.
Your Premier Foot & Ankle podiatrist may recommend more conservative treatments first if your bunion progression isn’t severe yet. These include anti-inflammatory and steroid prescription medications, steroid injections, shoe inserts and splints, and custom-made orthotics — inserts that are tailor-made to your feet. They may also recommend working with a physical therapist to gain relief from your bunion pain.
A particularly innovative treatment that serves some bunion patients is the Multiwave Locked System (MLS) laser, which hastens healing by stimulating cell turnover and reducing scar tissue and inflammation. This painless treatment is FDA-cleared, and your doctor outlines a treatment calendar that fits your needs best.
We also offer a minimally invasive bunion surgery that’s light years ahead of traditional open surgical methods, which typically leave patients with a scar that could be longer than two inches.
Surgery with minimally invasive procedures offers patients multiple benefits as compared to open techniques, including quicker recovery and return to normal activities, as well as less bleeding, pain, and scarring. If your surgeon determines mid-procedure that open surgery is more in line with what you need, however, they can change course then and there.
Don’t delay if you think you’re in the beginning stages of developing a bunion. Save yourself time, discomfort, and complications by contacting Premier Foot & Ankle. Call our location closest to you and schedule an appointment today, or book one online anytime.