You might feel that as you get older you develop new and different aches and pains every day. Throughout your life, you’ve stood on your feet, walked, and ran and they’ve supported your whole body every day. This continued pressure and stress can cause painful foot conditions, like bunions to develop. You might think that bunion pain is just a side effect of getting older, but there are many treatments you can try at home to relieve foot pain. And if at-home care doesn’t relieve your bunion pain, you can always make an appointment with your trusted podiatrist to diagnose the cause of your foot pain and provide customized treatments to relieve your discomfort, heal your bunion, and restore functionality of your foot.
What are Bunions and What Causes Them?
Bunions are deformities that develop on the joint where your big toe meets your foot. Medically, this joint is called the hallux metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint. Misalignment or tight muscles or tendons in your foot put pressure on the joint, causing your big toe to lean toward your other toes. This pushes the metatarsal bone in your foot toward the outside of your foot, creating a misalignment in your MTP joint.
The misalignment and pressure from your shoes cause a bony lump to form on the outside of the joint. This lump gets bigger as time goes by and can make the misalignment of your toe more pronounced.
What are Bunions Symptoms?
Initially, bunions may not cause any symptoms. The first sign you might notice that you develop a callus on the side of your foot at the MTP joint. You may also notice the hump on the side of your foot and that your skin becomes red and inflamed. Eventually, you’ll find that your feet start to hurt and that your bunion may affect your gait, which is the way your foot moves when you walk. Bunion pain can become severe enough pain that it impedes your mobility.
What Can You Do at Home to Relieve Foot Pain from Bunions?
If you notice that you’re developing a bunion, there are some steps you can take at home to relieve your discomfort and slow its development.
Change your shoes
If you’ve been wearing shoes that are too narrow in the toe box or that put too much pressure on your toes and the balls of your feet, it can make your bunions more painful and exacerbate your discomfort. Change your shoes to flat, supportive shoes with plenty of room in the toe box.
If you’re overweight, you’re putting extra pressure on your feet which can contribute to your discomfort, especially when you have a bunion. If you can lose weight it reduces the stress on your already misaligned feet and toes.
Over-the-counter nonsteroidal drugs like ibuprofen can reduce inflammation and swelling, which relieves your pain. You can also try bunion cushions to protect your bunion and reduce friction when you’re wearing shoes.
Warm and cold treatments
Warm foot baths with Epsom salts can relieve muscle aches and tension, if your bunion is sore after a long day on your feet. You can also apply an ice pack to reduce any swelling.
When to See a Doctor About Bunion Pain
If your attempts to ease your foot pain at home aren’t successful and your foot pain is getting worse, you should make an appointment with your trusted podiatrist. Dr. Nagy provides expert diagnosis to confirm that you have a bunion and determine if a misalignment elsewhere in your foot is causing your bunion and foot pain. He performs a physical exam and may use diagnostic imaging tools like X-rays to get a clear image of the bones in your feet and ankles.
How Does a Podiatrist Treat Bunions?
Dr. Nagy offers a variety of treatments to correct your bunions and relieve your pain. He typically begins with conservative treatments and then offers more invasive corrections if necessary.
Physical therapy can release any tight muscles or tendons in your foot or ankles that are pulling your metatarsal bones out of alignment. Physical therapy for bunions involves stretching maneuvering your foot to correct misalignments and tightness.
A splint is often used to hold your toe and MTP joint in the correct alignment. Over time, your muscles and tendons relax and adjust to your foot being in the correct alignment. You may also benefit from physical therapy while you wear the splint to aid the correction.
Dr. Nagy provides custom orthotics which are made to fit and support your feet in a precise way to relieve pressure on your bunion and encourage correct alignment and gait.
If your bunion is caused by a misalignment in your ankle that is pulling on the muscles and tendons in your feet, Dr. Nagy offers HyProCure®, a minimally invasive procedure that corrects a common ankle misalignment. This procedure is quick and relatively painless, with an insertion of a small metal cylinder into your ankle.
When other treatments for bunions are unsuccessful and your bunion is disrupting your normal life, you may benefit from surgery. Bunion surgery is typically performed with minimally invasive surgical techniques. During surgery, Dr. Nagy removes excess bony tissue that has formed on your MTP joint and corrects alignment of your joint. He may use a metal pin to hold your joint in place while you heal.
If you have question or concerns about bunion pain, contact Dr. Nagy and the team at Nagy Footcare for expert diagnosis and personalized care. At Nagy Footcare, our best day is when you wake up without foot pain.