Foot pain is commonly ignored. In my experience, people tend to write off pain or soreness as a result of being on their feet for long hours.

However, foot pain can signal a serious foot injury or even a problem with your overall. And it shouldn’t be ignored!

One such foot-related problem is bunions. Although bunions affect nearly 30 percent of people across most western nations, typically folks only seek medical intervention if they are unable to walk due to the pain.

However, seeking early intervention can help to prevent bunions from worsening while reducing the risk that the bunion will progress to something more serious like arthritis.

What are Bunions?

Essentially, a bunion occurs when the joint at the base of the big toe starts developing in a sideways angle. The result? The big toe starts getting pushed in the direction of the smaller toes.

This can lead to pain and swelling at the base of the big toe. As the bunion becomes severe, the pain will also progress to the ball of the foot. In addition, bunions can cause severe pain, redness, and inflammation in the affected area and will feel warm and appear shiny.

Bunions are more common among older people and women. The condition can be caused from wearing tight shoes or heels which place a lot of pressure on the joints of the big toes. Though someone suffering from severe bunions may find it difficult to walk even when wearing flat shoes.

What Causes Bunions?

Most problems associated with the feet tend to develop in early adulthood which then further progress and become severe with age. Bunions, however, can be hereditary or in some people be caused by inflammatory feet conditions such as arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. Uneven length of the legs can also cause bunions to develop.

As mentioned earlier, bunions can develop from wearing tight or poorly fitting shoes and from wearing heels for many years.

3 Complications of Bunions

In a significant number of cases, bunions may not cause serious complications. However, in people with severe bunions, additional complications can arise. These include the following.

  • Hammertoe: Pressure asserted by a bunion can cause hammertoe, a condition in which the middle joint of a toe starts bending downwards.
  • Metatarsalgia: Pain and inflammation can occur in the area just behind the joints of the second and third toe and is often described as a feeling of walking on pebbles.
  • Bursitis: Ill-fitting shoes not only increase the chances for developing bunions, but it can also lead to bursitis, a condition in which the small fluid-filled sacs called the bursae become inflamed.

When should you see a podiatrist for your bunion pain?

The severity of pain will obviously be the big factor in consulting with a professional foot and ankle doctor. So, start by assessing your symptoms, including the following:

  • Pain or soreness.
  • Redness and warm to touch.
  • A burning sensation or numbness of the big toe.
  • Wearing and walking in shoes is difficult, even in flat shoes.

If any of these symptoms are progressively getting worse, it is best to consult with a professional podiatrist.

In addition, even if you start feeling pain in the joint area of your first big toe or if you notice that the toe is moving sideways towards the smaller toe, consult with a doctor. If bunions are addressed early on, their progress can be slowed down, and the symptoms and associated pain can be better managed.

Seeing the Right Type of Doctor is Vital

Early detection and treatment can help in slowing down or stopping bunions from progressing or getting worse. Surgery may be recommended in very severe cases only. That, however, is a call only a professional foot and ankle doctor will take after a complete and careful diagnosis.

Consult with Rocky Mountain Foot & Ankle

If you are suffering from bunion pain and are looking for effective treatment and relief, we at Rocky Mountain Foot & Ankle can help you. Connect with us here or give us a call today to set up an appointment!