Although bunions are a very common foot condition, they tend to develop very slowly, and many people ignore the problem until the bunion has reached a more advanced stage and is harder to treat. Bunions develop when the big toe joint gets misaligned due to poorly fitting shoes, abnormal foot mechanics caused by arch problems like flat feet, and arthritis or other inflammatory joint diseases such as gout.
- Stretching exercises—Performing stretching and strengthening exercises can help to keep the big toe joint more flexible. Pulling the big toe into a straight position, and picking up marbles with your toes, are two excellent exercises to perform.
- Avoid wearing high heels or other tight shoes—When a bunion rubs on your footwear, it causes painful corns to develop on top of the bunion. These can become infected, which can be particularly problematic for diabetic patients. Always wear shoes with a wide toe box that doesn’t scrunch your toes together.
- Padding—A variety of padding and taping solutions are available to help isolate the bunion and treat or prevent corns and calluses that may have formed on it.
- Orthotics and braces—Shoe inserts and braces can be used to spread the toes apart and prevent the bunion from continuing to push into the other toes.
- Physical therapy—This can help with range of motion issues, pain relief, and recuperation after bunion surgery.
If your bunion worsens and continues to be painful, a more aggressive treatment involving surgery may be necessary. At Your Next Step, our team of board-certified podiatrists has access to advanced technologies, along with years of experience, to help diagnose and treat a variety of foot and ankle problems, including sports injuries, joint pain, toe deformities, nail fungus, chronic tendon pain, and skin problems. Dr. Eric Ricefield, Dr. Mark Yagodich and Dr. Aliza V. Eisen provide high quality foot and ankle care to patients in the greater Philadelphia area. Please contact our offices in Ardmore, Paoli, and Downingtown, PA for more information or to schedule an appointment.