Many of us, including myself, are not strangers to foot pain. There are many things that can cause foot pain including, stress fracture, plantar fasciitis, twisted ankle, ingrown toenail, gout, and many others. But have you stopped to look if your pain may be a Bunion. If you don’t know what this is, you are in the right place.
A bunion is also called a hallux valgus. It is an actual deformity of your big or great toe.
Some have described this as a big toe bone or tissue around the joint. But really, the great toe (hallux) is being pushed or turned into the second toe. (Valgus)
I’ve heard this before from a non-medical type – “Your toe just ain’t straight.”
Because the toe is angulating inward, subsequent swelling of the joint, pain, and even redness can be seen.
In some cases, there is an actual bump on the inside of your foot. This could be a body process or a swollen bursal sac.
The symptoms are primarily to do with the toe itself. You may see some pain when walking or some redness of the large joint of the toe. Often you can see the toe pointing inward. Blisters may form because of the rubbing of the toe inside shoes, or to the toe next to it.
You may notice that your shoes aren’t fitting the way they used to. You may not be able to put a shoe on because of the pain. Infections can occur secondary to a blister or crack or from an ingrown toenail The cause stems from the bunion.
Again, an actual deformity of the foot may be all that you see. Depending on the severity, the deformity may be quite pronounced.
Swelling or pain in the great toe is not only seen in Bunions. There could be something else going on instead. X-ray will help immensely to see the great toe pointing inward.
Blood testing may be important to rule out things like infection or gout. Remember, some things could be secondary and some things could be the real cause of the problem. A gout patient will have a very similar description of pain and redness in the toe.
Initially, treatment is basic. By getting the right pair of shoes, much of your pain and discomfort can be solved. Shoes are easily the most important initial treatment option. Box toed shoes will allow for an increased space and avoid blisters and other problems.
Ice is required for the swelling that can be seen from irritation. You may also need to rest and elevate your foot. NSAIDs or Non steroidal anti inflammatories such as IBU or Naproxen could be beneficial as well.
In some cases, splints or toe spacers or bunion regulators may be helpful. These also are known as bunion splints or bunion cushions. All-in-all they are under the category of orthotics. There are a lot of different orthotics – some in grocery stores and some need to be prescribe or made by a specialist. In many cases, you will need to see a foot doctor, also called a podiatrist.
One of the last options in severe bunion cases is surgery. Surgery can be done when all other treatment options have failed. There are many different things they could do in surgery, depending on severity and availability.
1.) They could remove the bony growth on inside of toe
2.) They could realign big toe. This can require a pin or a cast placed on foot. A pin goes into the toe to keep it straight.
3.) Realigning cartilage, bone, or other tissue
Typically if a pin is placed – it is absorbed and will be broken down by the body over time. Continued research has looked into the best way this can be done. Current treatments are the most up-to-date as possible.
Bunion treatment has a large benefit for most patients. Surgery is the last option but it does do a good job for those where their bunions really affect their daily lives.
But remember, not all toe pain is bunions. Seek medical attention as required for complete and accurate diagnosis.