San Francisco Podiatrist – Bunions

A bunion forms at the base of the big toe when bone or tissue of the joint shifts out of place and subsequently enlarges. This creates a painful mound of bone on the foot, often seriously aggravated by the pressure walking puts on this area. Bunion symptoms include a rigid lump on the edge of the foot, pain, limited movement of the big toe, swelling and redness around the joint. Corns may also develop where the first and second toes are forced to overlap. Bunions develop over time due to abnormal pressure or force on the foot’s structure. The joint becomes unstable usually due to manner of walk, foot type, shoes, foot injuries or neuromuscular disorders. Any activity or condition that puts above average stress on the feet can cause bunions. Ballet dances, for instance, are especially susceptible to bunions.

Treating bunions ranges from pain management to surgical options. People often start with padding the bony protuberance to decrease pressure, taping the foot into a normal position and daily icing. High heels or shoes that constrict the foot should be avoided, and orthotic inserts can help prevent further damage. Anti-inflammatory medications and cortisone injections are prescribed to reduce pain and swelling. Physical therapy, including ultrasound therapy, helps relieve pain and treats the surrounding soft tissues affected by the bone formation. When these treatments are insufficient, surgical options are available. A surgeon can remove the bunion and repair the misalignment that caused it to develop.