Is Your Big Toe Pain an Irritation From a Bunion?
If you are suffering from pain in your feet, particularly in your big toe, and the straightforward act of walking around is hurting, then it may be time to see a specialist. Arthritis, fractures, gout, and bunions can all cause big toe pain. But having a proper diagnosis can quickly put you on the road to recovery.
Did you know that bunions are very common, and some people are born with them or even develop one at a young age? That’s right. Studies have shown that one quarter to one-third of the adult population has bunion deformities, with the incidence significantly higher in women compared to men.
Here’s another one. Did you know bunions can also occur on the side of the pinky toe joint, also called a Tailor’s bunion or bunionette? This is less common than a regular bunion, but it does happen.
This post looks at the symptoms of a bunion, what plays a role in developing bunions, ways to relieve your pain at home, and how Yeargain Foot & Ankle can help you heal.
The Visual and Physical Symptoms of a Bunion
What are Bunions?
A bunion, also known as Hallux Valgus, is a painful bony protrusion or bump that can be felt on the side of the big toe joint. This happens when a mal-alignment of the bones at this joint causes your big toe to deviate laterally or move towards your smaller toes. In this way, a bump is formed and, over time, becomes larger.
Because of the bones’ mal-alignment, your joints become more inflamed with motion, resulting in pain, especially as the bump becomes more prominent. That means walking, going for a run, and even putting on your favorite pair of shoes will all be very painful. You can expect redness and swelling to occur at the site due to the joint becoming more inflamed and damaged.
Corns or calluses can also develop from your big toe and second toe rubbing together. The symptom can progressively worsen and cause ongoing pain and even limit movement of your big toe. Particular shoes can cause additional pain, especially dress shoes or footgear with a narrow toe-box.
How Bunions Develop
Typically, bunions occur on one foot, but a small percent of the population can develop a bunion on both feet. Being evaluated at Yeargain Foot & Ankle at the first signs of your bunion can help prevent further progression and the development of a second bunion.
Three reasons bunions form:
- Family history: Bunions are genetically inherited, and so your family history is important to consider when it comes to the susceptibility of getting a bunion. The foot structure or anatomy of the foot you inherit may make you more prone to developing a bunion. Some children are born or develop bunions at a young age on both feet. This is typically called Juvenile bunions and naturally occurs in females as young as ten years of age. Flatfeet with tight calf muscles can lead to bunions as well.
- Shoe gear: Unfortunately, the shoes we wear can play a factor in bunion development. Wearing high heels forces your toes into a crowded position and can lead to deviation and further bunion formation. The same can be said when wearing too-tight shoes, too narrow, or too pointed.
- Rheumatoid arthritis or psoriatic arthritis: These disorders can increase the susceptibility of bunions. This inflammatory condition of joints can cause painful inflammation and deviation of multiple joints in the foot, including your big toe.
How do Relieve Pain from Bunions at Home?
Bunion pain can range from mild to severe depending on the severity of the bunion. When you feel particularly sore, you can ice the area for 20 minutes to decrease swelling, inflammation, and pain at the site.
Of course, there is medication that you can take that will help, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and naproxen. These can help reduce pain and swelling.
Other things you can do at home to relieve the pain include wearing properly fitting shoes, OTC inserts, and bunion splints and sleeves. Your podiatrist can help you determine which is best for you.
How a Podiatrist Can Help
Podiatrists are the experts when it comes to bunion treatment. At Yeargain Foot and Ankle, we evaluate and treat bunions daily. Unlike some other arthritic conditions, we recommend treating bunions sooner rather than later. Since a bunion is a mal-alignment of your joint, continuing with physical activity will only cause the joint to degenerate faster since the joint is out of position. This, in turn, will make pain and inflammation worse, therefore, limiting your lifestyle. At YF&A, we provide a tailored and unique treatment plan that can help eliminate your pain.
Yeargain Foot & Ankle’s Bunion Treatment Plan
Here at Yeargain Foot & Ankle, we will evaluate and determine the actual cause of your bunion. We always begin with the most conservative approach possible. Every patient is different, and not every bunion requires surgery.
- We have a state-of-the-art digital x-ray machine in our office that provides real-time images to demonstrate your foot structure and the severity of your bunion.
- We will perform a thorough clinical evaluation upon your visit, including a family history of bunions. We will discuss what activities you like to do for fun and exercise and any particular job activity or shoe requirements.
- We will determine what device may help you. There are many designs available on the market today that can relieve bunion pain and even help prevent the worsening of the condition.
- We will also discuss stretches and exercises that can help to improve your bunion condition. Bunion pain can vary depending on the duration and severity of the deformity.
- If conservative treatment has failed to resolve your symptoms fully and the bunion has affected your daily lifestyle, surgery may be the answer. We will talk about the different surgical options, including a unique technique that will leave you with no visible scar!
We’ll work with you to get you back on your feet, pain-free, looking great, and back to doing the activities you love!
If you are suffering from bunion pain, act fast; book an appointment with Yeargain Foot & Ankle today. Dr. Yeargain and Dr. Agyen will put you on the path to recovery as soon as possible. To book an appointment, call (214) 824-3851 or book an appointment via our contact page.
We look forward to treating you. You’ll find Yeargain Foot & Ankle at 3801 Gaston Ave. Suite 330 across the street from the Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas.