Pain has become a part of your daily life. Your foot hurts at work, at home, and pretty much all the time. You noticed a bump on the side of your foot, right at the base of the big toe. What's going on with your foot, and what could be causing the discomfort? Podiatrists suggest that your shoes may be the culprit, causing a foot disorder known as a bunion.
The Problematic Bunion
A bunion is an inflammation and deformation of the metatarsophalangeal or MTP joint, the "bump" at the base of the first toe. When left untreated, a bunion progresses to a serious and painful deformity as the first metatarsal bone pushes outward and the big toe pushes inward. Sometimes, the inward pressure on the big toe is so severe that the toe actually overlaps the second or even third toe in a condition called hammertoe.
Shoes Contribute to the Problem
People who wear narrow shoes with pointed toes tend to develop bunions. Physicians at the Mayo Clinic suggest that over time, tight, narrow shoes force the MTP joint into a poor position. In particular, women's shoes put a vice-like grip on toes, crowding them in on each other. Heels higher than 2 inches place additional pressure on the front of the foot, and summer time flip-flops give practically no support to feet, setting the stage for bunions. When factors such as heredity, arthritis and simply being on your feet all day are added in, bunions are an almost certainty.
The American Podiatric Medical Association says that proper footwear helps prevent bunion formation. These foot doctors recommend wearing well-made shoes with wide toe boxes, flexible but sturdy soles and heels no higher than 2 inches. Clogs and quality athletic shoes are great choices for people who stand all day at their jobs. In addition, shoe stretchers re-size shoes at the toe where ample room is needed most.
When bunions form, an experienced foot doctor in Crystal Lake, such as Gary F. Ochwat DPM and Craig W. Halihan DPM, may perform a bunionectomy to realign the toe joint. This procedure works well, is relatively comfortable and has a short recovery time. More conservative treatments can include:
- wearing of customized orthotics or shoe inserts
- padding the protuberance with materials such as Moleskin
- splints worn at night to bring the MTP joint into more normal position
- therapeutic exercises
For More Information
Would you like to know more about this foot condition? Drs. Ochwat and Halihan at Advanced Ankle and Foot Specialists in Crystal Lake, IL would be happy to consult with you about bunions at one of their 4 convenient offices. Call today for an appointment.
In Hoffman Estates or Elgin, phone (847) 468-1994. In Crystal Lake or Huntley, phone (815) 356 -0500.