What can you do for relief?
When to Visit a Podiatrist
If pain persists, visit your podiatrist. Bunions tend to get larger and more painful if left untreated, making non-surgical treatment less of an option.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Treatment options vary with the type and severity of each bunion, although identifying the deformity early in its development is important in avoiding surgery. The primary goal of most early treatment options is to relieve pressure on the bunion and halt the progression of the joint deformity.
A podiatrist may recommend these treatments:
Padding and Taping: Often the first step in a treatment plan, padding the bunion minimises pain and allows the patient to continue a normal, active life. Taping helps keep the foot in a normal position, thus reducing stress and pain.
Medication: Anti-inflammatory drugs and cortisone injections are often prescribed to ease the acute pain and inflammation caused by joint deformities.
Physiotherapy: Often used to provide relief of the inflammation and bunion pain. Ultrasound therapy is a popular technique for treating bunions and their associated soft tissue involvement.
Orthotics: Shoe inserts may be useful in controlling foot function and may reduce symptoms and prevent worsening of the deformity.
Surgical Options: When early treatments fail or the bunion progresses past the threshold for such options, a visit to an Orthopaedic surgeon may become necessary to relieve pressure and repair the toe joint. The surgery will remove the bony enlargement, restore the normal alignment of the toe joint, and relieve pain.
A simple bunionectomy, in which only the bony prominence is removed, may be used for the less severe deformity. Severe bunions may require a more involved procedure, which includes cutting the bone and realigning the joint. Recuperation takes time, and swelling and some discomfort are common for several weeks following surgery. Pain, however, is easily managed with medications prescribed by your podiatrist. Your podiatrist wants you to have a satisfactory and speedy recovery, and this can be achieved by carefully following the postoperative instructions that you have discussed prior to and immediately after surgery.
There are some steps that may help prevent, or at least slow, the progression of bunions: