In order to decide whether you need a bunionectomy, visit a podiatrist. A podiatrist is a health care professional, doctor, which specializes in the health of the foot and ankle. A bunion is the enlargement of the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint that forms when the bone or tissue at the big toe joint moves out-of-place.
The joint moving out-of-place forces the toe to bend toward the others, causing an often painful lump of bone on the foot. The MTP carries a lot of the body weight while walking and running and for this reason is extremely painful if left untreated. The joint itself becomes stiff and sore which can make wearing shoes difficult to nearly impossible.
An enlargement can also occur along the outside of the foot along the little toe referred to as a bunionette or tailor’s bunion.
Some of the symptoms of this condition are;
- A firm bump on the outside edge of the foot at the base of the big toe
- Redness, swelling or pain near the MPT joint
- Corns or other irritations caused by overlapping of the first and second toes
- Restricted or painful motion of the big toe
Treatment for the condition can vary
- There are commercial nonprescription pads that can be applied around the bony prominence
- Wear shoes that offer your foot with a wide and deep toe box
- If your bunion becomes inflamed and painful, apply ice packs
- Avoid high-heeled shoes over two inches tall
- Avoid any shoes that cause your toes to be “squeezed” unnaturally together at the toe
- See your podiatric physician if pain persists
Treatment options can vary depending upon the type and severity of the condition. Identifying the bunion itself as early as possible will help ease a more severe form of treatment such as surgery.
Seeking treatment at the first sign of pain is important to avoid worsening of your condition. Bunions tend to get larger and more painful if left untreated. The longer you wait the chances of elevation without treatment is less likely.
The primary goal is to relieve the pressure on the bunion and halt progression of the joint deformity.
Many podiatric physicians will ask or recommend padding and taping, medication, physical therapy and orthotics and finally surgical intervention if warranted.