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Bunions : Treamtent & Prevention

Everything from Better Shoes to Surgery Is Possible

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Updated April 10, 2014

Bunions : Treamtent & Prevention

Foot xray showing bunion deformity.

Photo © Terence Vanderheiden, D.P.M

Treatment for "Bunions"

Conservative (non-surgical) treatment will not make the bunion go away, but it will hopefully decrease the signs and symptoms you have and help you get rid of the pain and get you back to your activities. These 5 recommended products for bunions also may help.
  • Wider shoes
  • Extra depth shoes
  • Stretch shoes (where the bunion is)
  • Cut an "x" or cross in the shoe (where the bunion is)
  • Ice
  • Padding, splints, toe spacers
  • NSAIDs (Aleve, Advil, ibuprofen, etc.)
  • Arch supports
  • Custom orthoses (orthotics)
  • Change in activities (talk to your podiatrist)
  • Physical therapy

Surgical treatment for bunions is sometimes needed. If you are limited by pain, cannot fit in shoes comfortably and are not able to do your daily activities, then surgery may be a good option for you. There are many different surgical procedures to repair bunions. Your podiatrist will review your foot exam findings, your x-rays, your age, your health, your lifestyle, your physical activity level and discuss with you which procedure he or she would recommend. Surgical procedures for bunions range from soft tissue repair to cutting and realigning the bones. It is not recommended that you have bunion surgery for cosmetic reasons (you do not like how your foot looks) or because you want to fit in a certain pair of shoes. There is the risk that even after surgery, the bunion will reoccur 9-10% of the time.

Prevention of "Bunions"

  • Do not wear high heels if there is a family history of bunions
  • Wear shoes that have enough width and depth in the toe box
  • Use a motion control arch support if you over-pronate (foot rolls in)

Summary

Bunions are a common foot problem especially in women. Shoes contribute to the problem, but are not the only cause. Bunions can be painful and that is usually the reason people eventually go to a foot doctor (podiatrist). Treatment can either be conservative or surgical. It depends a lot on your symptoms and how limited you are by the bunion. Surgery is often very successful, but bunions can reoccur 9-10% of the time.

Sources:

Coughlin MJ, Jones CP. Hallux valgus: demographics, etiology, and radiographic assessment. Foot Ankle Int. 2007 Jul;28(7):759-77.

Deenik AR, de Visser E, Louwerens JW, Malefijt Mde W, Draijer FF, de Bie RA. Hallux valgus angle as main predictor for correction of hallux valgus. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2008 May 15;9:70.

Dykyi D. Pathologic anatomy of hallux abducto valgus. Clin Podiatr Med Surg. 1989 Jan;6(1):1-15.

Mann RA, Coughlin MJ. Surgery of the foot and ankle. St. Louis, MO: Mosby-Year Book, Inc.; 1993.

Roddy E, Zhang W, Doherty M. Prevalence and associations of hallux valgus in a primary care population. Arthritis Rheum. 2008 May 30;59(6):857-862.

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