Even though I’m a dermatologist, many of my patients show up at my office with feet related problems. Regardless it they’re corns, blisters, athlete’s foot… they all cause embarrassment along with pain and discomfort.
Bunions are no exception.
I always encourage my patients not to feel self-conscious about asking for help with their feet. Too often, with a problem like bunions, patients try to ignore it, hoping it will go away. It won’t.
More than five million Americans suffer with bunions. These painful, bony growths within the joint of the big toe make shoes difficult to wear and make it painful to walk. If you don’t address your bunions, they can even cause your foot to become deformed.
One of the Most Painful Foot Problems You’ll Ever Deal With
A bunion forms when the joint of your big toe becomes swollen and enlarged. This forms a bump at the base or side of your toe that eventually forces your toe joint out of alignment. When your toe is chronically out of alignment, it messes up the whole working of your foot. Your tendons begin to pull the wrong way, and your balance is thrown off. This changes your gait, which can exacerbate the problem and make the bunion get worse.
To some degree, bunions are hereditary. That means if one of your parents had bunions, you’re more likely to get them. Bunions happen because the structure of your foot is slightly off. They can be made worse by wearing shoes that fit tight in the toes and by working in jobs that require you to be on your feet a lot.
For bunions in an advanced stage, the pain can be nearly constant. The solution in these situations is usually surgery. Fortunately, in most cases, the surgery can completely correct the toe’s misalignment and fix the problem. Provided you wear comfortable, well-fitting shoes, you shouldn’t have a recurrence.
In the most successful type of bunion surgery, the doctor will break your toe to realign the joint. He may also need to realign tendons, ligaments, and nerves to get the best result. If that sounds like a major procedure, it’s because it is. Bunion surgery can take two months to recover from, and it’s painful.
Bunion surgery has a high success rate, but if you make smart choices before a bunion forms or when you notice the first signs of a bunion, you can hopefully avoid the surgical procedure.
Natural Relief for Bunion Pain
The early warning signs of bunions include a slight “leaning in” of your big toe that causes a protrusion to begin to form. You might experience pain, soreness, redness, or even numbness along the protrusion.
While tight-fitting shoes don’t necessarily cause a bunion to form, they can make it get worse and cause a lot of pain. At the first sign of a bunion, it’s time to reconsider your footwear. You don’t have to make radical changes, but you do want to choose shoes that are roomy through the toes. If you have a history of bunions in your family, it’s a good idea to choose sensible shoes even if you don’t have any sign of a bunion forming.
Once a bunion starts to form, you can use bunion pads to cushion the protrusion and ease any pain that you’re experiencing. You can find these at your local drug store, usually near the ace bandages.
If you work a job that requires you to stand a lot, see if you can arrange to spend more time sitting. If not, make sure you sit down and put your feet up during your short breaks and your lunch hour.
If you’re experiencing swelling at the site of the bunion, icing it for ten minutes in the evening can help.
By taking good care of your feet, you can slow down the progression of your bunions, which might make surgery unnecessary. You’ll also reduce the level of pain and discomfort you experience, and that’s a good thing.
Photo Credit: healingdream