Usually at this time of year, as the cold weather forces us to re-think about our footwear choices, it is very common to start to experience painful feet, especially bunion bump pain.
Did you know, almost 1/3rd of Australians suffer from bunion pain at some point in their lives?
What is a bunion bump?
A bunion is an abnormal enlargement or “bony bump” of the first or fifth toe joint. It is a progressive foot deformity, which is likely to worsen as we age.
Usually in its first instance, a bunion can cause some pain and irritation when it rubs on the shoe. If left untreated, it has the ability to cause arthritis in the big toe, and also impact on the second, third and fourth toes where it may cause clawing/hammering or overlapping of toes.
What causes bunions?
Bunions are caused by a mechanical malfunction of the first or fifth toe joints, during weight bearing. This can occur due to:
- Abnormal foot mechanics which cause excessive foot pronation.
- Hereditary: runs in the family
- Inflammatory disease e.g. Rheumatoid Arthritis.
- Footwear – shoes with a pointy/narrow toe box, especially high heels
How do we treat bunions?
- Appropriate footwear: with extra width and depth to accommodate bunions.
- Orthotics: To address any structural abnormalities, preserving joint function and slowing the progression of the deformity.
- Strengthening exercises: of the intrinsic foot muscles.
- Foot mobilisation: involves moving specific bones which have moved out of position back towards their correct anatomical alignment.
- Dry Needling and Tool Assisted Massage: to release the soft tissue structures that insert into the bunion bump.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication: to reduce pain and inflammation.
- Surgical referral: for the removal of the painful bump and to realign the big toe.
- Bunion Shields: silicon shields given by your podiatrist to protect and cushion the bunion bump.
At Well Heeled Podiatry we are very experienced in treating foot and bunion pain. If you are suffering bunion pain, your first step is to make a podiatry appointment to determine your conservative treatment options before you decide to go under the knife!