By Drew Zachary, PT
What is a Bunion?
A bunion is a bony bump that forms on the base of the big toe. It can develop over time as some of the bones in your foot shift and gradually cause the big toe to point outwards towards the little toes. This is turn, causes the joint at the base of your big toe to be pushed outwards and cause a painful bump.
What Causes Bunion Pain on Foot?
The exact cause of bunions is unknown, but there are many theories. One generally accepted theory is that wearing heels, tight, or narrow shoes may put you at an increased risk for developing a bunion. Another speculation is that your foot type, any deformities present since birth, or even rheumatoid arthritis may contribute to the cause of bunion development.
How Do you Relieve Bunion Pain?
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Wear shoes with a wider toe box
- Gel fitted pads that can be purchased at the drug store
- Ask your doctor about the possible use of a night splint
- Physical therapy
Should I Have Bunion Removal Surgery?
The actual bunion or bony bump will not go away without surgical intervention, but through the combination of various treatments such as those listed above, it is possible to decrease bunion pain or eliminate it completely. Most orthopedic physicians recommend trial and error of various different, less invasive treatments such as:
- a change of shoes,
- use of a night splint, and
- NSAIDs for about a year
If your pain persists for more than a year with conservative treatment, you may begin to discuss surgery with your MD.
What is Recovery Time for Surgery?
Depending on the severity of the bunion and what procedure was performed, you may be able to walk immediately after the surgery, although more severe cases require a period of non weight bearing for up to 3 months. Most patients can expect a full recovery following bunion surgery anywhere from 6 months up to a year. Any complications that are present following surgery may extend the recovery period.
Bunion pain can stem from many things, but there are certain risk factors you can avoid. If you think you have one, look for an angular, bony bump on the side of the foot, usually at the base of the big toe. Sometimes hardened skin or a callus forms and covers the bump. There is usually swelling, redness, tenderness, or pain at the base of the big toe and in the ball of the foot. Eventually, the area becomes shiny and warm to the touch.
Physical therapy usually begins 3 – 4 weeks after surgery. The Jacksonville Orthopedic Institute has the top Foot and Ankle Doctors in the area. They are the Bunion experts! JOI can get you in with one of our Foot and Ankle Specialists quickly. Click here to learn about bunion surgery recovery tips.
If you are interested in scheduling an appointment at JOI Rehab for physical therapy, schedule online, click below or call (904) 858-7045