Bunions: Bad News and Good News

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Evaluating a bunion

A bunion is a bad alignment of a bone in your foot, specifically your big toe. If you have one, the first metatarsal rotates inward instead of being straight.  Have you heard that a bunion is a growth of extra bone that can just be shaved off? If so, we’re here to set the record straight about this foot deformity.

The most common cause of a bunion is genetics. However, you can’t blame your parents for everything. Sometimes it skips a generation, so your grandmother or grandfather may be the ones with the tell-tale bump near the big toe joint.  While family history isn’t always a part of the equation, you should ask around to see if someone in your family tree has dealt with this deformity.

Bunions worsen over time. They hurt because your footwear presses on them. In fact, when a bunion gets very severe it can even hurt to walk barefoot or drive a car. As we age, the deformity gets larger and more rigid--this is why they tend to hurt more.

Conservative treatment options include changes in shoes, wearing custom orthotics, and changing to activities that do not bother the deformity. When conservative treatment options fail, surgery is needed to realign the first metatarsal.

It is also general misconception that bunion surgery is painful or involves a difficult recovery. It is important to have radiographic evaluation of the bunion deformity to determine the best surgical treatment required. Some bunions can be corrected surgically in the head of the bone, and some larger bunions require surgical correction more near the base of the bone. These latter bunions will require a longer postoperative healing period. As long as the correct bunion procedure is chosen, the bunion has a small chance of recurring.

There’s good news: the foot doctors at Podiatry Associates, P.C. in Castle Pines, Cherry Creek, and Parker, CO can help end your bunion pain. Call us at (303) 805-5156 or contact us online to schedule an appointment with our team. We look forward to serving you!

Photo credit: nenovbrothers via freedigitalphotos.net

Dr. Cynthia Oberholtzer-Classen, DPM
Founder and Owner of Podiatry Associates, PC
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