Bunions are common foot problems experienced by millions of Americans every year. These bony enlargements at the base of the big toe are inconvenient and can be painful, but our surgeons, of Kinetic Foot and Ankle Clinic in Greenwood Village, Colorado, provide expert assessment and treatment options for bunions. Call our surgeons today, or make an appointment to see them using the online booking form.

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What is a bunion?

Bunions are bony lumps on the joint at the base of your big toe where your foot bends when you walk or run. The joint is on the inside of your foot where the widest part of the ball of your foot meets the base of your toe, and sometimes it presses onto the metatarsal bone lying behind it.

Continual pressure from the joint onto the metatarsal bone leads to spreading, pushing the metatarsal out and forming the lump at the side of your foot called a bunion. At first, the bunion may not cause pain, but you’ll notice the enlargement and it might be uncomfortable wearing narrow or otherwise restrictive shoes.

As the bunion increases in size, the skin over the bunion can get stretched and shiny, and you might start to notice a reddening of the skin as inflammation increases. If your feet aren’t examined and don’t receive any kind of treatment, it’s possible for your bunions to become painful and affect your ability to walk.

They may seem more of an inconvenience than anything else in the early stages, but bunions can end up causing chronic pain, and the lump can get sore where it rubs on the inside of your shoe.

What causes bunions?

A bunion is caused by pressure from the big toe joint onto the metatarsal bone, which can arise for several reasons:

  • Big toes that angle inwards toward the other toes rather than forwards
  • A family history of bunions
  • Poor foot structure
  • Different length legs
  • Arthritis in the feet
  • Wearing high heels

Women are more likely to get bunions than men because high heels force the foot bones and joints into positions that cause increased pressure.

How are bunions treated?

You can help ease the pain and swelling yourself by using anti-inflammatory pain-relieving medication and applying ice packs to the bunion. These treatments won’t solve the problem though, so it’s best to seek medical help as soon as you notice a bunion forming, to ensure you get an accurate diagnosis and get started on an effective treatment plan.

Our surgeons offer several different treatment options, which they prescribe according to your individual requirements. Treatments include:

  • Orthotic inserts
  • Padding the bunion
  • Splinting the foot
  • Taping the foot
  • Cortisone injections

In some cases, patients may need surgical intervention, but our surgeons always adopt a conservative approach initially to avoid unnecessary surgery. If you should need an operation, our providers are highly skilled specialist foot surgeons who have considerable experience in performing operations to correct foot problems, so you’ll be in good hands.

Call Kinetic Foot and Ankle Clinic today to arrange an appointment, or book online.