Have you noticed a painful lump at the base of your big toe? It might be a bunion: a bony growth that forms when your big toe is regularly pushed under or over your other toes in your shoes.
Bunions start small, but they don’t go away on their own. Without proper care, they only get bigger and more painful. Severe bunions can cause chronic toe pain, swelling, stiffness, and make it difficult to find shoes that fit.
Nearly 3 million Americans seek bunion treatment each year, and the good news is that Guillermo Duarte, MD, and our team at Manhattan Orthopedics can help keep your bunion pain from getting worse.
The most effective bunion treatments
Anyone can get a bunion, and they get more common as you get older. Wearing high heels or shoes with narrow toe boxes increases your risk of bunions, as well as a history of other conditions like flat feet, high arches, or rheumatoid arthritis.
If you think you might have a bunion, schedule an appointment with Dr. Duarte and our team. Early intervention is the best way to keep your bunion from getting worse, because the earlier you start bunion treatment, the more effective your treatment will be.
From new shoes to minimally invasive surgery, here are some of the most effective bunion treatments we may prescribe.
Rest and ice therapy
Bunion symptoms worsen if you spend long periods of time on your feet. Fortunately, resting can relieve inflammation and pain. Take frequent breaks throughout the day, and apply ice to your bunions for 5-10 minutes at a time to help manage discomfort.
High heels and poorly fitted shoes are the leading cause of bunions. Choosing comfortable, supportive footwear takes pressure off your toe joint and prevents bunions from getting worse. Start wearing shoes with wide toe boxes to give your toes plenty of space to spread when you stand and walk.
Since bunions stick out along the side of your foot, they often rub on socks and shoes, making the pain worse. Bunion pads and shoes with extra cushioning help eliminate irritation by taking pressure off your toe joint.
When your bunion gets irritated, inflammation develops in the joint and causes pain. Oral anti-inflammatory medication can help reduce your body’s inflammatory response to lessen bunion pain. In more severe cases, Dr. Duarte may also recommend joint injections.
Bunions interfere with proper foot mechanics. They are painful, but they can also increase your risk of other foot issues like hammertoe. Orthotics are custom shoe inserts that correct your foot mechanics, support your bunion, and help relieve chronic foot pain.
Dr. Duarte and our team take a conservative approach to care, and many patients find that nonsurgical bunion treatment effectively manages their pain. But if you still have painful bunions after trying conservative treatment, bunion surgery might be a good option for you.
In bunion surgery, Dr. Duarte removes the bony growth and swollen tissue. Then, he reshapes your toe joint to improve foot mechanics.
Don’t ignore pain and stiffness at the base of your big toe. Find out more about bunions and your treatment options at Manhattan Orthopedics. Call our offices in Astoria, Brooklyn, or Manhattan, New York, or request your first appointment online today.