Hallux valgus (you call it a bunion) is the most common foot deformity. Nearly 1 in 3 Americans are walking around with these painful bony protrusions on the side of their toes.
Fortunately, the pain doesn’t have to last.
Dr. Kelly Geoghan and our team know how frustrating even the smallest bunion can be. That’s why we want to equip you with a few tips and tricks to head off a bunion flare-up and stay pain-free.
What are bunions, and where do they come from? Answering those questions is crucial before diving into how to manage them.
Bunions occur when the bones of your toes (usually your big and little toes) move out of place. There are many theories about how bunions happen, but the exact cause isn’t exactly understood. Most believe factors like inherited foot type, foot stress, injuries, and congenital deformities play a role.
Some health conditions, including arthritis, are other likely culprits. It’s also possible that wearing high-heeled or too-narrow shoes can increase your risk.
The only way to completely get rid of a bunion is through surgery, especially if it’s severe. However, you can easily manage mild bunions and avoid painful flare-ups by following these simple foot care strategies.
Check in with your shoes
We know how a pair of shoes can complete the perfect outfit, but we also know how important your footwear is to your foot health, particularly if you’re prone to problems like bunions. Invest in shoes with a wide toe box and enough support for your arches and heels.
You may need to sacrifice a bit of style, but your bunions will thank you.
Regular icing is a great way to manage inflammation that inevitably accompanies and exacerbates bunion pain. We recommend icing your foot for 10-20 minutes at a time.
Head to your medicine cabinet
Sometimes, over-the-counter pain medication is all it takes to stop a bunion flare-up before it starts. It’s important, however, that you don’t start taking medications without talking with Dr. Geoghan first.
Ask about injections
We offer corticosteroid injections that effectively reduce the pain and inflammation associated with bunions. If they’re right for you, injections can help you keep bunion flare-ups at bay.
Try orthotics and other supports
When your foot is plagued by bunions, the thing they need most is extra support. That’s why one of the first places we start in treating your bunions is custom orthotics.
Custom orthotics fit your feet exactly and provide optimal support — something store-bought inserts can’t compete with.
To complement your orthotics, we may also recommend bracing, padding, or taping your feet to surround your tender toes and feet with all the cushioning support they need.
Your toes, that is. Yes, exercising your toes and feet can go a long way in managing bunion pain. Try movements like toe curls, toe spread-outs, and toe circles. If you’re lucky enough to live near a soft patch of grass or sand, try walking barefoot to give your feet a natural massage.
If you’d like more information about bunions, or if you suspect you need treatment, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment online or over the phone at our Lutherville, Maryland, office today.