Bunions occur when the joint between your big toe and the ball of your foot develops a prominence, often resulting in the big toe being pushed inward over time. This foot deformity plagues thousands of women and men, many of whom suffer in silence either due to embarrassment or because they're not sure what can be done about this problem.
However, bunions are more common than you'd think, and they're easier to treat or manage than you might imagine. Read on to discover four useful facts about bunions.
1. About 23% of Adults Have Bunions
Society sometime teaches that the feet are dirty and should be hidden, especially if those feet are deformed. You may feel like you're the only one with bunions because many people with this condition hide their feet. But in fact, studies have found that about 23% of adults ages 18 to 65 suffer from bunions.
Hopefully, this makes you feel less alone and embarrassed about your condition. You should never feel ashamed to talk about bunions with your physician - or even with your friends.
2. Bunions May Be Partially Inherited
Many people blame themselves for their bunions. You may feel guilty that you've worn high heels or narrow shoes for many years. But while poorly fitting shoes and high heels may make bunions worse, there's evidence to suggest that bunions are, at least in part, a heritable condition. They can also be brought on by arthritis.
So while wearing well-fitting shoes is a good way to reduce your risk of bunions, there's a chance you would have developed bunions anyways, even if you had worn better shoes all along. Don't blame yourself for your bunions; the best approach now is to accept them and take actions to keep them from worsening or causing you too much pain.
3. Many Cases of Bunions Can Be Managed Without Surgery
Some patients avoid talking about bunions with their doctors because they fear their doctor will recommend surgery. However, in most cases, your physician will recommend managing your bunions non-surgically if possible. There are plenty of non-surgical tactics to help reduce bunion pain:
- Place a moleskin pad over the edge of the bunion to keep it from rubbing in your shoe.
- Buy shoes in a wider size to allow more space for the bunion.
- Have your podiatrist make you a special splint to hold your toe straighter and reduce aches.
- Soak your foot in a warm bath of Epsom salts at the end of a long day.
These measures will not make your bunions go away, but they will make living with bunions a lot easier.
4. Bunion Surgery Is Not As Scary As It Seems
If the remedies above do not give you relief, then your podiatrist may recommend surgery. But keep in mind that today's surgical procedures are more advanced than those your parents may have had performed 20 or 30 years ago.
Although each patient's needs are different, most people can return home within a few hours after bunion surgery; an overnight hospital stay is rarely required. After some procedures, you may be able to walk on your foot - while wearing a special shoe, of course - just a day or two after surgery.
While it does often take 6 months or more for a full recovery, many people can return to work and daily obligations far sooner as long as they're careful to follow their doctor's bandaging and medication instructions.
If you have bunions, do not go on suffering in silence. There's a good chance that some of your friends are dealing with the same problem, and it is not something to be ashamed of. Talk to a podiatrist like those at Instride Family Foot & Ankle Center to learn more about your non-surgical treatment options or to find out what bunion surgery may mean for you.