Information From The American Podiatric Medical Association
A bunion is recognized by a noticeable bump on the side or top of the foot near the big toe joint. Other symptoms that may be present are redness, swelling, pain in shoes and when walking, deep aching pain at rest. Bunions vary in degree and discomfort, from being mildly painful to very debilitating.
Bunions develop from a weakness in the bone structure of the foot. Because of the instability of the bones and ligaments, which form the various joints and arches in the foot, the joints have a tendency to move out of proper alignment. Bunions are not caused by improper shoe gear, but are significantly aggravated by improper fitting shoes which place an unusual degree of pressure at the bunion joint. As bunions become more severe the joint will move out of proper alignment and eventually arthritis will damage the joint space. In severe cases the big toe will move under the second toe and the foot widens dramatically.
As a rule, bunion deformities should be recognized early and evaluated by your podiatrist. The doctor can offer several suggestions on controlling the cause of the bunion deformity so that symptoms do not arise or become more severe. Your doctor may order x-ray studies to evaluate the bone structure of your feet. This will give him invaluable information as to the cause and severity of the deformity. Some of the available treatments include: change in shoe gear, medication, padding and inserts, or surgery to realign the joints.
If the bunion deformity becomes painful or progressively increases, surgery may be recommended. After a thorough exam and history your podiatrist will discuss with you the surgical options. Remarkable advances have been achieved in the past decade in instrumentation and procedures. Most procedures can be performed safely and effectively on an out patient basis with quick recovery times.
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