If you have flat feet or low arches, you should know that you are at increased risk of developing bunions. Unfortunately, bunions are often wrongly thought of as a minor problem. The truth is that bunions are a serious and painful problem that often require care from a foot and ankle doctor to effectively treat.
How Can You Identify A Bunion?
The bunion is easy to identify because it is a noticeable deformation that shows up at the bottom of the big toe. That joint is known as the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint. Bunions occur when bone or tissue that should be at that joint are moved away. That toe is then shoved towards the other toes, resulting in the painful new lump.
It does not occur overnight, but instead happens as the result of walking or standing on your feet. If your job involves a lot of either of those, your bunions may become larger and more painful very quickly. Even the shoes you are able to wear may change, due to the bunion and the damaged joint.
How Can The Foot And Ankle Doctor Help?
It is important to remember that a bunion may not go away by itself. Even if you buy new shoes, change jobs and quit standing for long periods of time, the pain and damage are likely to persist. If that happens, consult with a foot and ankle doctor.
A foot and ankle doctor is known as a podiatrist. He or she will examine the area and make appropriate treatment plans. You may be advised how to tape and pad the foot, which can restore function and limit pain. That option is typically best for less advanced cases. You may also be advised as to the best shoes to wear.
Another choice is the use of injections or pills to reduce inflammation and pain. Water and massage therapies are also popular choices and are effective for pain management. Shoe inserts, over-the-counter pain medication and icing or heating the area are also common choices.
Surgical intervention may be recommended for severe bunions or when bunions have not responded to less invasive treatments. It is major surgery and removes the bunion, moves the big toe back if needed and reconstructs the various tendons and ligaments that have been impacted.
In conclusion, flat feet and low arches are a common risk factor for the formation of bunions. If you notice a large, painful bump at the bottom of your big toe on either foot, consult with a foot and ankle doctor immediately at a place like Advanced Foot & Ankle Center of Palatine.