If your podiatrist has diagnosed you with bunions, you may have some questions about treating them.
Bunions are a common sight at NYNJ Foot and Ankle Associates. Their clinical name - hallux valgus - describes what exactly what they are. The hallux is another name for your big toe, and "valgus" is a Latin term meaning bent or twisted. Bunions are literally the big toe bent inward to the other toes. So why does this problem exist and how can it be treated? Your Bronx podiatrist, Dr. Barry Finkelstein, has some answers.
Bunions in Brief
Bunions form when there is an abnormal amount of pressure on the joints of the big toe. This causes the toe to become contorted inward and the resulting bone deformity is what makes up the bunion. Although they mimic the appearance of tumors or cysts, they are not new growths. Bunions can have pain, swelling, and limited range of motion associated with them.
There are two schools of thought regarding the reason why bunions form. Some experts maintain that they are genetic; others say that years of wearing ill-fitting shoes is the problem. Either way, shoes that put pressure on the toes or force the feet into unnatural positions are thought to worsen these irregularities over time. Women suffer more from bunions than men; their footwear is often designed to be extremely narrow and confining. Although arthritis does not directly cause bunions, the inflammation of the joints can make them worse.
Your Bronx podiatrist will usually suggest low-maintenance, non-invasive options first. Make sure that all your shoes are high-quality and comfortable. Visiting a specialty shoe store will determine exactly what size and width you should be wearing. Wearing shoe inserts or arch supports can help with your posture so your weight is better distributed and the muscles can relax. For pain associated with bunions, analgesics like ibuprofen or naproxen are recommended. These can be purchased at any pharmacy.
For persistent and advanced problems, surgery may be necessary. These procedures reshape some of the bone or surrounding tissue in order to realign the foot.
If you have noticed a change in the shape of your foot or increasing discomfort while wearing shoes, contact Dr. Finkelstein's office today for an evaluation.