Bunions can be painful, causing problems with walking and interfering with other normal day-to-day activities. At his practice in Arcadia, CA, Dr. Wenjay Sung, DPM, offers the most advanced treatment techniques to help patients with bunions find relief.
Bunions are hard, bony bumps that project from the side of the big toe at the joint. Bunions occur most commonly among people with certain foot shapes or gait patterns, and they can also develop in people who wear high heels or very tight shoes on a routine basis. Bunions are often accompanied by calluses, blisters, and pain. Because they extend out from the side of the foot, finding shoes that fit comfortably can be very difficult.
Bunions develop when pressure on the big toe causes the joint to move out of its normal alignment with the rest of the foot. Instead, the top of the toe is pressed inward, causing the base of the toe joint to move outward, away from its normal position. Over time, the joint can become inflamed and arthritis can eventually set in. Without care, the big toe can eventually be forced over the neighboring toes, causing additional pain and disability.
Sometimes, bunions can be treated nonsurgically with special orthotics to help keep the toe in a more normal position while protecting the joint from further strain and damage. Avoiding high heels and wearing shoes with more toe room can also help in the very early stages of a bunion. But often, surgery is needed to restore the joint to its normal position while also helping to prevent the bunion from recurring in the future.
During bunion surgery, one or two small incisions are made over the joint and the bones are repositioned. Very tiny pins or screws are used to hold the bones of the joint in proper alignment and to stabilize the joint. Fibrous tissue bands called ligaments may also be repositioned or shortened to reduce laxity that can form when the toe joint is repeatedly forced out of alignment. In some cases, the joint will be fused to prevent movement and pain.