Seeking treatment for your foot pain can be overwhelming, and you may have many questions for us about your particular ailment and treatment options. Here, we share answers for the questions we are asked most about medical care for ankles, feet, and lower legs.
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How are bunions treated?
Usually those bumps on your foot can be treated without bunion surgery. At home you can control your weight, choose different shoes, use protective pads, and take any pain medication we advise.
Other remedies include warm soaks, icing, massage, and ultrasound therapy, as well as wearing a shoe insert or custom orthotic to relieve pressure from the joint as you walk. Sometimes a stretching regimen may help, or we may prescribe a splint worn at night while you sleep that helps hold the toe in a better position (more helpful in the very early stages).
As long as the pain is bearable and doesn’t interfere with your normal activities, conservative treatment for bunions may be all you ever need. However, when the deformity in your toe joint becomes extreme or the pain means you can’t even walk around the block in athletic shoes, it’s time to consult our experts—Dr. David Laurino, Dr. Antonius Su, and Dr. Darick Freestone—for possible surgery.
You can reach Advanced Foot & Ankle Specialists of Arizona in the Phoenix area by calling (480) 963-9000 or (480) 981-1800 to set up a visit at our Chandler or Gilbert, AZ office.
Can my footwear contribute to bunion pain?
We’ll probably never understand why fashion trends are so compelling that people would risk their foot health to follow the latest fad. Shoe choice definitely affects the comfort of your feet, as anyone with bunions can tell you. While the cause of the bump on the side of your foot is likely the foot structure you inherited, shoes matter, too. Footwear that is tight around the toes can cause the deformity to get worse more quickly, and when high heels force all the weight onto your forefoot, they can pretty much do the same.
Bunion pain comes from two sources: pain in the joint itself because of the misaligned bones and damaged tendons and ligaments, and pain in the skin and tissue where the joint juts out and rubs against your shoes. Footwear for bunions should have roomy toes and low heels to reduce discomfort from both sources. You may need extra arch support in your shoes, or custom orthotics as well, to rebalance your foot and correct your gait.
For more information about shoe choice or other bunion treatments, call Advanced Foot & Ankle Specialists of Arizona at (480) 963-9000 in Chandler, AZ or (480) 981-1800 in Gilbert.
What is the difference between a bunion and a bunionette?
A bunion and a bunionette are similar problems that can make it painful to wear certain shoes. The only difference is which joints and toes are affected. The first is a problem with your big toe. The digit dislocates from its normal position and leans toward its neighbors, while the corresponding metatarsal slides away from the ones beside it. The bulging joint that results is the bunion. The second is almost the same thing, but instead of the big toe, it develops in the littlest. The fifth toe leans in while its metatarsal leans away, creating a much smaller bunionette at the joint, but with many of the same symptoms.
The good news is that both problems can be treated conservatively. You don’t have to let either issue cause you pain or control your feet. Contact Advanced Foot & Ankle Specialists of Arizona for an appointment to take care of either problem right away. Just call or fax to reach us: call (480) 963-9000 or fax (480) 963-0375 for Chandler; or, call (480) 981-1800 or fax (480) 981-0229 for Gilbert, AZ. You can also use our website to request an appointment.
Do I need surgery for a bunionette?
Bunionette treatment is largely conservative. Surgery is an option to correct this mild deformity, but just like for other foot issues, it’s considered a “last resort.” Noninvasive methods are tried first. Typically this involves making shoe changes to wear styles that don’t squeeze the forefoot. Shoes with a wide toe box, rounded end, and plenty of support reduce the pressure on the outside of the littlest toe. Pads and inserts can provide a layer of protection between your digit and your shoes, alleviating the friction and pressure. Custom orthotics can correct any biomechanical issues that may have contributed to the problem, too. When the side of the foot aches, icing it can often relieve the discomfort. Stubborn pain may need medication or direct injections.
You shouldn’t avoid taking care of your bunionette out of a fear of surgery. Let Advanced Foot & Ankle Specialists of Arizona help you eliminate your pain. Contact one of our two offices for an appointment through our website, by phone, or by fax: call (480) 981-1800 and fax (480) 981-0229 for Gilbert, or call (480) 963-9000 and fax (480) 963-0375 for Chandler.