Do you have questions about bunions? We have answers.
Do you have questions about bunions or the causes of bunion pain? Tanglewood Foot Specialists provides the answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about bunions and hallux valgus deformities. If you are suffering with bunions, schedule an appointment to talk to Houston podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider at (713) 785-7881.
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Do all bunions need surgery?
Once a bunion forms on your foot, there is no way to correct them other than surgery. The bump on the side of the foot is formed because of a rotation of the bone and bunion surgery repositions the bone to achieve correction. That's not to say that every bunion needs surgery.
In my Houston podiatry practice I see the gamut of bunions: from mild-looking bunions that are very painful to horribly deformed bunions that haven't provided a minute of pain. The treatment of a bunion should correlate to the discomfort it provides and its presence restricts you in any way.
Discomfort from a bunion typically comes in two forms: pain deep in the great toe joint and pain where the bunion contacts the shoe. When the pain is in the joint, it is possible to control the function and pressure in that joint by treating it with a custom orthotic. The orthotic will also remove the deforming forces that will cause the bunion to get worse with time. This is a treatment option that many choose to prevent or delay future surgery.
When the pain is related to the bump of the bunion, it makes it difficult to wear shoes comfortably. In some cases, the bunion can be cushioned with a bunion pad. In other cases, foot surgery is the best option to correct the bunion. Bunion surgery will reduce the deformity and will ultimately allow you to return to wearing your shoes comfortably.
Bunions will become worse with time so the best time to get your's checked is now. Houston podiatrist and bunion surgeon Dr. Andrew Schneider will evaluate your foot and offer the best recommendation to ensure your bunion is addressed in the best way to meet your goals.
Can custom orthotics cure my bunions?
An orthotic is a custom shoe insole that works to increase the stability and efficiency of the foot and ankle. When an orthotic is made properly, it will help to remove the forces that causes the bunion on your foot to form. While it will not reverse the bunion and cause it to go away, the custom orthotic will slow or stop the bunion deformity from progressing.
Not all custom orthotics are created equal. An impression must be taken of your foot, which can be done using plaster, a box of crush foam, or by standing or walking on a digital plate. There are numerous materials that can be used to make an orthotic.
In my Houston podiatry practice, I perform a comprehensive biomechanical examinations with measurements taken both standing and walking. We use two different methods to evaluate your gait, a visual and a computerized gait analysis. We then take a mold of your foot in a stable neutral position.
If you are noticing a bump forming on the side of your great toe joint, it is likely a bunion forming. Contact Dr. Andrew Schneider to evaluate it and make recommendations to control it so it doesn't become larger or more painful.
Why do I have bunions on my feet?
Bunions are the result of unstable mechanics. In general you inherit these mechanics, which is why you may describe your feet as similar to a parent or grandparent. You don't really inherit the bunions themselves, just the predisposition for the bunion to form.
A bunion is not a growth of bone on the side the foot. It is when the first metatarsal bone rotates out, causing the bone to bulge. This forces the joint to be misaligned and pushes the great toe towards the second toe. Every step you take continues this cycle and causes the bunion to grow larger.
If a bunion is caught early in its development, the mechanics that cause it to form can be neutralized. A custom orthotic is best used for this purpose. When properly made, a custom orthotic can neutralize the forces that cause the bunion deformity. This can stop the development of the bunion and possibly prevent the need for further correction, such as bunion surgery, in the future.
If you are starting to see a bump on the side of your foot, do NOT wait until it becomes painful. Contact Houston podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider for a comprehensive foot evaluation and learn what can be done to stop your bunion from becoming a bigger problem.
Are bunions on feet hereditary?
While bunions themselves are not hereditary, the foot type that causes bunions are. That is why you'll notice your feet resembling that of a parent or grandparent, for better or for worse. This is an important distinction, since if you notice the potential of developing a bunion early, you can take measures to prevent the bunion from occurring. It is important to note that bunions are generally not caused by shoes, but rather by the mechanics and overall stability of the foot.
If your foot resembles a family member who has a bunion on her foot, or you notice the start of a bump on the side of your foot, don't wait to get it checked. When a bunion is noticed and treated in the early stages, the faulty mechanics can be addressed with a custom orthotic to restore stability to the foot. This can prevent a bunion from forming or stop it from progressing.
Can a bunion form on top of my foot?
A bunion describes a bump on the foot around the great toe joint. While usually we describe a bunion as a bump on the side of the foot, a bump on the top of the foot can also be called a bunion.
A bunion on top of the foot is not typically hereditary, but often starts because of trauma. A sprain or jamming of the great toe joint causes a progressive buildup of bone, or bone spur, on top of the joint. As this continues, it further restricts the joint and the pain increases.
Early detection of a dorsal bunion can be treated with a custom orthotic. A thin carbon steel liner is also helpful to restrict motion to reduce pain. With this type of bunion, however, surgery may be needed to remove the bone spur and restore joint motion. Your Houston podiatrist will provide the most comprehensive recommendation for you.
Can I have a bunion on the outside of my foot?
A bunion can occur on the outside of the foot and is commonly known as a Tailor's Bunion. Just as a typical bunion is caused by the shifting of the first metatarsal bone, a tailor's bunion is due to the rotation of the fifth metatarsal.
Just as a bunion is caused by unstable mechanics of the foot, so is a tailor's bunion. It is best to address this condition as early as possible by balancing the mechanics with a custom orthotic. Once a tailor's bunion forms and becomes painful, surgery is often the recommendation for treatment. Catching a tailor's bunion before it is painful and problematic will often avoid the need for surgery.
Does a bunion form because of tight shoes?
While tight, pointed-toe shoes can contribute to the formation of a bunion, it is rarely the primary cause. Shoes make great scapegoats, though. With the style being back at high heels with pointed toes, it's easy to imagine them forcing a bunion to form.
In truth, a bunion is formed due to an instability in the feet and mechanics that causes the first metatarsal bone, the bone before the big toe, to shift over. As it is shifting, tight shoes could make it happen more rapidly, however it would continue even in well-fitting shoes.
If you notice the start of a bump on the side of your foot, don't wait to get it checked. When a bunion is noticed and treated in the early stages, the faulty mechanics can be addressed with a custom orthotic to restore stability to the foot. This can prevent a bunion from forming or stop it from progressing.
Can a bunion splint cure a bunion?
A bunion splint is used to straighten the great toe. Many companies market these devices as being able to correct a bunion deformity. Unfortunately, unless the bunion is only caused by contraction of the soft tissue. This rarely, if ever, is the case.
A bunion splint is often recommended after surgery to maintain the correction and prevent soft tissue contracture. It also can be used before surgery to loosen the soft tissue surrounding the joint. There are also bunion pads that are useful in cushioning the pressure of a shoe on the bump on the side of the foot.