By Dr. Reza Mobarak, Southwest Foot and Ankle Center
Many people have bunions. With some the cause is hereditary, for others bunions are caused by their shoe gear. Regardless of the cause, the patient usually complains of a painful bump located on the inside of the foot by the great toe joint. Typically the discomfort is from this painful swelling to the painful bump which is also often red and is most pronounced after wearing shoes for a long period of time.
Happily, there are treatments that can help with bunion pain. It is, however, important to know which treatment is right for each patient.
In our profession of podiatry, we try to categorize a bunion deformity based on clinical and radiographic evaluations. Yet, patients walk into our office wanting pain relief without going straight to surgery. At Southwest Foot and Ankle Center our focus is placed on shoe gear and custom inserts, (orthotic) accommodative gear.
When it comes to shoegear, the toebox and the heel counter (back of the shoe) are very important. With a bunion bump pain, the toebox of the front of the shoe should be wide and not impinging or causing shear forces to the bump region of the bunion. The heel counter should be sturdy and not flimsy so that the forefoot is not compensating. With custom inserts, or what we call orthotics, a semi-rigid orthotic will prevent compensation of the front of the foot from thus aggravating the bump pain.
Another device that we offer our patients is a bunion splint. This is a device which it holds the bunion in a corrected position, and can often be worn with regular shoes. This splint is offered in different sizes depending on the size of the foot.
Besides shoe gear and custom orthotics, oral anti-inflammatories can help too but patients are cautioned to keep in mind that these can become a source of stomach upset. Furthermore, icing intermittingly at the end of the day will help as well.
When thinking of bunion pain, orthotics and shoe gear are treatment options as well as measures that will prevent the bunion deformities from worsening. Only if all conservative measures fail is surgical intervention indicated considering the right patient is chosen. Surgical intervention is preformed on an outpatient basis, and has a very quick recovery and great success.
Many patients who undergo surgical intervention were happy after their surgery due the relief from discomfort and quick recovery. Many patients who come to our office have previously been told that they would have to off of their foot for approximately six weeks. This is not true. The recovery time is much less than that and patients are in a regular shoe within a matter of weeks.
Dr. Reza Mubarak heads the Southwest Foot and Ankle Center with offices in Plano and Lewisville and may be reached at 972-316-0902. www.SWFAcenter.com