That bump on your big toe won’t go away on its own, so don’t ignore it! Here, orthopaedic surgeon DR SENG CHUSHENG answers our questions about bunions, including bunion symptoms, bunion treatment and when surgery is necessary.
What is that bump and where did it come from?
The bony bump that forms on the inner side of the foot, at the base of the big toe, is a bunion – and it may be hereditary. It’s usually a manifestation of a change in the alignment and structure of the foot, with the big toe pointing outward toward the second toe.
In addition to a family history of bunions, you’re more likely to suffer from the condition if you wear tight, narrow footwear or shoes that are too small, have flat feet or have rheumatoid arthritis.
What are the most common bunion symptoms?
You’ll most likely notice swelling and experience pain on the inside part of the big toe joint. When a bunion is more severe, you’ll even notice crossing over or an overlapping of the second toe. If the bump occurs on the outside of the foot at the base of the little toe, the condition is called “bunionette.”
Other common bunion symptoms include:
- a hard, bony swelling of the big toe joint;
- redness and pain around the big toe joint;
- calluses where the big toe rubs against the second toe, and under those toes; and
- stiffness of the big toe joint if the condition is advanced with arthritis.
Additionally, bunions make it very difficult to put on shoes, and can significantly affect mobility.
Will bunions go away on their own?
Not only do bunions not go away on their own, but they will worsen and become more painful if left untreated. That said, it’s advisable to see an orthopaedic specialist early. An orthopaedic specialist will examine your foot and order x-rays to determine the severity of the condition. From there, the appropriate treatment route will be planned.
What are the bunion treatment options?
Conservative bunion treatment options like over-the-counter pain and anti- inflammatory medications, avoiding high-heeled shoes, wearing shoe orthotics and switching to proper footwear with a wide toe box can help relieve symptomatic pain and swelling.
When bunion surgery is necessary
For more severe cases, however, bunion surgery is the only effective way to treat the condition. It involves removing the bony bump and correcting the alignment of the big toe joint. This correction can be done with a minimally invasive keyhole surgery, which involves minimal recovery time and less pain, as compared to traditional open surgery.
After the procedure, you’ll be fitted with a special post-operative shoe to protect the bunion correction, though you can expect some swelling for a few months after bunion surgery.
Axis Orthopaedic Centre
• #07-49 Mount Elizabeth Novena Medical Centre, 38 Irrawaddy Road
• #04-08 Parkway East Medical Centre, 319 Joo Chiat Place
9711 8888 | axisortho.com.sg
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