The Foot Blog
Posts for: July, 2016
Patients often ask if we can treat their bunions without surgery. There are, in fact, some non-surgical ways to reduce bunion pain and prevent bunions from getting worse, such as:
- Properly fitting shoes. This is one of the simplest things people with bunions can do to increase their comfort. It’s important to wear shoes that don’t press against the bunion.
- Custom orthotics, or arch supports. We’re not necessarily talking about the cheap, store-bought type here. A professionally made, custom-tailored orthotic slips inside your shoes and holds your foot in proper alignment, preventing pressure on the bunion. (For our patients’ convenience, we have a full-time orthotics professional on site in our clinic.)
- Bunion splints and toe spacers. These help to reposition the toe in better alignment. Toe spacers are designed to be worn inside your shoes while walking, and splints are worn overnight while sleeping.
- Oral or topical medications. Your podiatrist may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication to help decrease the pain and inflammation of a bunion.
- Steroidal injections. For bunions that are really inflamed, sometimes a small steroid injection into the bunion will offer some relief of symptoms.
- Strengthening exercises. If you have a bunion, it’s important to keep your foot muscles strong and maintain good balance. Our staff can instruct you in some simple toe exercises you can perform.
It’s important to realize that these therapies aren’t cures for bunions; that is, they won’t result in your bunion going away. But, especially for mild bunions, they may provide some relief from the symptoms.
You can learn more about bunions on our bunion page. If you’d like to talk to someone about non-surgical (or surgical) treatment of a bunion, feel free to give us a call, or request a consultation online using the form below.
Have you heard any of these? Here’s the truth about a few common misperceptions about bunions and bunion surgery.
- Myth #1: My bunions were caused by years of wearing high heels. High heels and shoes with pointed toes can aggravate a bunion. But chances are, you were going to develop a bunion anyway; in many cases bunions are actually hereditary and develop from genetic defects in the toe and joint, pronation, arthritis or arches that are too high.
- Myth #2: Everyone who has bunion surgery is out for months: There is, of course, a recovery time following bunion surgery, but how long before you're back on your feet will depend on your individual circumstances. Some patients with smaller bunions may be back at work within a matter of weeks if their jobs don't involve excessive standing or physical activity. They may be outfitted with a boot or mobility device for a period of time. Patients who had severe bunions removed may need to limit their mobility for several months -- but in many cases, these patients are able to do desk work or other tasks that can be done while seated. Some patients are able to make arrangements with their employers to work from home for a few weeks while recovering.
- Myth #3: The pain after bunion surgery is unbearable. A lot has changed in medicine in recent years. Today we have advanced lasers and sophisticated pain management systems to make the post-surgical experience much more pleasant. At The Foot & Ankle Center, we even have a proprietary pain prevention protocol that we developed just for our bunion surgery patients. The feedback we've gotten has been that it's very effective, in fact most patients are surprised at how little pain they have after bunion surgery.
If you think you may be developing a bunion, or you already have a painful bunion, give us a call or make an appointment for a consultation. You may also want to check out our bunion page for more information.