Why Choose Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital for Bunion Treatment?
Bunions form as the result of wearing uncomfortable shoes, standing for too long, or not moving enough. If left untreated, uncomfortable and unsightly bunions can become extremely painful and even limit one's ability to walk or stand.
A bunion (hallux valgus) is a protrusion or bump that forms in the joint of the big toe, and occasionally on the joint of the little toe. There are several types of bunions, most of which can become quite painful if shoes are worn that force the big toe into an unnatural position.
Severe Structural Bunion »
Arthritis-caused Bunion »
Mild Structural Bunion Deformity »
The best treatment for bunions is to wear shoes with a wide enough toe box to allow a natural foot position. Make sure your toes are comfortable and no pressure is exerted by the shoe shape. If the bunion has already become painful, there are a few other remedies you can try: arch-supporting insoles, orthotics, sole padding, and taping the bunion.
Drugs for Bunions
If the methods described above do not work, you can try pain-relief medications like anti-inflammatory pills or acetaminophen.
Anti-inflammatory pills - Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) is a drug that blocks or reduces inflammation and pain. Examples of NSAIDs are aspirin, indomethacin, ibuprofen, or naproxen.
Acetaminophen - unlike NSAIDs, acetaminophens (also known as paracetamol) do not fight inflammation. However, they are effective at combating moderate pain. As with NSAIDs and most other drugs, if you are pregnant or suffer from liver disease, you should contact your doctor before taking any medicine.
If the above methods fail to substantially alleviate your discomfort and pain, it may be time to consider surgery.
Surgery for Bunions
Surgery is an option only when bunions have become painful when walking, and when non-surgical treatments have failed to relieve your pain.
There are many surgical procedures for bunion correction, depending on your condition:
- Bunionectomy: the surgeon will remove the part of your foot that is protruding and causing you pain.
- Ligament realignment: surgery on the soft tissue around the joint of your big toe.
- Osteotomy: surgical correction of bone position.
- Implant: the insertion of an artificial joint into the bone.
- Bone fusion: conducted to join the metatarsal bone and the mid-foot or the big toe joint.
- Resection arthroplasty: a surgical correction of the big toe and small metatarsal bones, with the removal of a small bit of bone to better align foot bones.
Surgery is done in an outpatient facility and is a relatively short procedure, lasting usually around an hour. Surgery for bunions is generally done under anesthesia.
Surgery will likely relieve your pain and improve your ability to perform your daily activities. However, some pain may remain. If you persist in wearing shoes that force the foot into an unnatural position, bunions may form again.
For the first few days after surgery, you should keep your foot elevated above your heart most of the time. When you do get on your feet, for the first weeks you should avoid bearing your full weight on your foot. Use crutches or a walker to support some of your weight when walking.
For the first few days after your surgery, you will take pain medication as prescribed to decrease pain and inflammation. You will also need to pay special attention to keep the dressing clean, but dry for the first couple of weeks or as instructed by your doctor.
If your surgery involves pins (stainless steel screws), you may have to remove them after a few weeks if they are temporary – or pay special attention to medical check-ups and imaging or TSA checks, if they are not.
Wearing your regular shoes will not come easily for a while. Slowly progress back into your shoes and do not force your foot into footwear that does not feel perfectly comfortable.
If your big toe feels stiff, try lightly exercising it to increase your range of motion.
Symptoms of Bunions
- A bony protrusion on your big toe
- Red coloration around the joint
- Wearing inadequate footwear increases pain
Diagnosis of Bunions
The doctor will examine your foot and immediately diagnose the bunion. X-rays may be taken to get a more detailed image of the cause and severity of your condition.
Risk Factors for Bunions
- High heels are among the most common risk factors for bunions. The higher the heel of the shoe, the more pressure is placed on the front of the leg, which in a short time increases your chances of developing bunions.
- Uncomfortable shoes or shoes with an unnatural shape that do not comfortably fit the toe box exert pressure on the front of the leg, forcing it to mold to the footwear causing the bones and toes to realign and eventually form bunions.
Causes of Bunions
Bunions can form because of a number of reasons, some of which are preventable and some not.
- Heredity: if you know others in your family overpronate or suffer from bunions, choose footwear that does not further expose you to risk.
- Congenital foot problems, foot injuries, and arthritis: can dramatically affect the quality of life. Be sure to wear the most comfortable footwear, and always avoid shoes that may further strain your foot.
- Professions that require people to stand a lot or wear certain types of footwear. Choose shoes with a wide toe box, that do not force the big toe inward, with flat heels and adequate cushioning.
- Castor Oil: apply castor oil on a pad and keep it in place with a bandage throughout the night.
- Ice Packs: apply ice packs to the affected area if you feel your shoes have been hurting your toes.
- Chamomile: soak your feet in chamomile tea for 10-15 minutes at night, or apply chamomile pads on the bunions for one to two weeks.
- Baking Soda: put three teaspoons in a basin of ankle-high warm water; soak your feet for 10-15 minutes nightly for a week.
- Control excessive pronation by correcting your walk or wearing arch supports.
- Wear shoes that are appropriate for your foot size, or even slightly larger, as feet tend to swell during the day.
- Spend more time walking barefoot. Try walking barefoot at home instead of wearing slippers.
- If you are overweight, consider losing weight to put less pressure on your feet.
- Try wearing splinters at night if you see your toes are slightly misshapen.
Are you suffering from bunions? For any questions, information, or guidance related to bunions, get in touch with our specialty-trained, skilled surgeons at Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital.