A bunion—also called Hallux Valgus—is a bump that appears inside the foot, around the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint (near the big toe). This bump is actually a bone protruding towards the inside of the big foot. Left untreated, bunions can cause sever pain and even hinder walking abilities.
Bunions are a common problem most women deal with, but men develop them too. Most people develop bunions from wearing poor-fitting shoes—though they can also be passed down genetically as well.
If left untreated, bunions can become so painful that you might end up walking differently just to relieve the pressure. Because the MTP joint helps bear and distribute bodyweight while standing, bunions can seriously affect the foots ability to function properly.
To treat bunions, your healthcare provider will begin with conservative methods designed to relieve pressure and restore function. The most common conservative approaches to alleviating bunions include:
Shoe choice: Choose shoes with wide insteps, broad toes and soft soles and avoid shoes that are narrow, tight, or sharply pointed.
Custom orthotics: In order to relieve pressure from the affected areas, your doctor may recommend custom shoe inserts.
Forefoot products: Products like a bunion shield, night splint or bunion bandages may be prescribed to treat bunions.
Conservative approaches like these are designed to limit the progression of the bunion, relieve pain, and provide a healthy environment for the foot. In more serious cases, bunion surgery may be recommended. Ask your doctor for more information during your next consultation.