Let’s Talk Bunions with Dr. Burk
Hi, I’m Dr. Roman Burk from Rocky Mountain Foot & Ankle. I’m often asked:
“What are bunions exactly, and how does a person get one?”
Bunions are a deformity of the foot where the big toe starts to deviate from the rest of the foot and it angles towards the smaller toes. It’s the most common form of deformity in a lot of adults. It frequently can be painful.
So what causes bunions? In some cases, the bunion is something that is the result of wearing incorrect shoes or having bad activities on your feet. In many cases though, it is the result of our genetics. We look like our mom and dad in the face, hands and in the feet as well.
A bunion is frequently evaluated or seen when a patient’s big toe begins to cross over or under against their lesser toes. Bunions can range from mild to severe where the toe joint actually begins to sublux or dislocate. This can leave a prominent bump along the foot that can sometimes be painful or other times be completely symptom free. In many cases our patients worry about whether or not a bunion is a major problem to them, and typically problems with bunions are going to be associated with toes that cross over and create other problems if they get pain around the bumper if they get balance or stability issues.
Patients often ask if there is any way to have treated their bunions before coming to see the podiatrist. Some very simple things a person can do is make sure their shoes are wide enough and soft enough to accommodate their natural anatomy inside the shoe. If the shoe is too narrow, then the foot is going to feel a great deal of pressure and it’s going to push on it quite hard. Or if the shoe is shallow and the toes cross over, it may be difficult to find a shoe that is going to match the toe box that those toes sit in. Technically speaking, there is nothing we can do about our genetics but there are a lot of things we can do to accommodate and keep our anatomy comfortable. Good shoes are one of the first steps to take. Additionally people can do things like stretching their shoes or perhaps wearing pads or splints that help to take away pressure directly on those bony prominences.
Usually when a person gets to the point where they need to see a doctor, they want to know what will happen if they pursue surgery. When a person has a bunion fixed we have to do more than simply shave off the bone. The toe and the metatarsal need to be in alignment with each other instead of being out of joint. The results of surgery should help to realign the joint through the toe and the metatarsal. If surgery is indicated then a discussion with your doctor would discuss the different possible procedures based on your specific problem.
Thanks for watching, and remember:
Feet shouldn’t hurt, and neither should their treatment. If you are experiencing foot pain or problems, then give us a call. Our foot doctors will help you find a solution for your problem that will fit your needs.
Our foot and ankle care doctors and surgeons are board-certified by the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery and are members of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons and the American Podiatric Medical Association. Call (208) 855-5955 or request an appointment online.