What is a bunion? This is a bony bump that forms on the outside edge of the big toe. It is estimated that half of women in America have bunions. In fact, it is so common than even celebrities are not spared from this foot condition.
Victoria Beckham, for instance, has not made it a secret that she has problems with her feet. In the past, she has reportedly stated that the ugliest thing about her were her feet. Her penchant for wearing high heels may have resulted to the development of bunions. Shoes with high heels are commonly damaging to the toes. Victoria is seldom without her towering heels, which may have led to bunion formation.
Wearing elevated heels regularly is known to put unwarranted pressure on the foot. Thus, it is not surprising that a lot of models, such as Naomi Campbell, develop bunions. Celebrity millionaire Oprah Winfrey is not spared from the infamous bunions. Rumors still circulate whether or not she had bunion removal. Although she wears heels during her television appearances, she is known for kicking her shoes off once she goes off the camera.
Celebrities may look glamorous in towering stilettos but this puts them at more risk of bunion formation. Aside from frequent use of high heels, another contributing factor to development of bunions is wearing too tight shoes. All the stress exerted on the foot from wearing improper footwear can put increased stress on the big toe joint. The extra strain on high heeled shoes or too tight shoes can hasten the formation of bunions in those who are inclined to develop them.
Genetics also plays a significant role in bunions. If the condition runs in the family, then it is more likely to have them. Sometimes, foot injuries can also be a factor. Other risk factors are certain nerve conditions that affect the foot, rheumatoid arthritis, congenital reasons, or occupational factors, for instance among ballet dancers.
Bunions may or may not cause foot pain. A bunion is seen as an enlargement of the base of the big toe. Later on, it can get larger and then sticks out. The skin over the bump may be tender and reddish. As the bunion gets bigger, the more it hurts to walk. In others, the pain can become chronic and the pressure from the big toe may force the second toe out of alignment.
In diagnosing bunions, the physician will do a thorough physical examination of the foot as well as an x-ray to assess the severity and possibly identify the cause of the bunion.
Although bunions do not always cause problems, they are permanent. The treatment options depend on the size of the bunion and severity of the pain. For smaller bunions, wearing comfortable shoes, using foot pads, and avoiding high heeled shoes can reduce stress on the bunion and decrease pain. Over the counter arch supports or prescription orthotic devices can provide relief. Medications such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen, or cortisone injections can be helpful.
Larger bunions can get more painful and only surgical correction can be an effective solution. Often, this includes a bunionectomy which includes removal of the swollen tissue around the big toe joint, straightening the big toe, realignment to straighten the abnormal angle in the big toe joint, and permanently joining the bones of the affected toe joint.
Old fear of painful bunion surgery is unfounded in our practice as our patients typically take only 1 or 2 days of pain medication in anticipation of agonizing pain that does not exist. Our secret to painless bunion surgery? Careful tissue handling and surgical technique by the doctor, quality peri-operative local anesthesia and proper use of steroids and anti-inflammatories during and after surgery.
Prior to making the first incision the patient's foot / ankle is blocked with local anesthetic such as what a dentist would do prior to drilling teeth. This initial injection stops the pain response of the body before it even starts. Then at closure time another injection is given with a 24 hour local anesthetic to decrease post operative sensation or stress of surgery. Most of the time a mild steroid is given as well as an intravenous strong none steroid anti inflammatory. All these extra steps are taken to ensure a smooth and painless recovery from bunion surgery.
Family Foot and Leg Center, PA
661 Goodlette Road, Suite 103
12250 Tamiami Trail East, Suite 101
1660 Medical BLVD, Suite 302
239 430 3668 for central scheduling.
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