Ankle and Feet Issues and Care Tips: A Podiatry Blog

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A Short Guide to Bunions

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Bunions are a very common foot condition that can be painful and require foot surgery to fix. However, many people do not understand the condition or what can be done to relieve it. This short guide explains bunions in detail, from how to identify one to what you can do about them. 

Identifying Bunions

The most obvious symptom of bunions is, of course, the bunion itself: a bony bump at the base of the big toe, which can be red or sore. It is also possible to get smaller bunions around the base of the little toe, and bunions themselves can vary in size. However, the Mayo Clinic explains some lesser-known symptoms, such as intermittent pain and corns or calluses. If you have any of these symptoms, see your general practitioner (GP), who can confirm this diagnosis.  

When to See a GP about Bunions

Deciding to see a GP about your bunions, or deciding to pursue further treatment such as foot surgery, is completely your decision. Some people experience only a little pain, while for some it interferes with everyday activities. Think carefully about how pain affects you, how you feel about your feet and whether your lifestyle is restricted by bunions, and make the decision that is best for you. If you have diabetes, you will need to be careful with bunions, as Medical News Today explains—ask your GP or specialist for advice. 

Relieving Bunion Pain at Home

If you decide not to opt for foot surgery, or are waiting for your surgery, there are things you can do to relieve foot pain. For example, you can choose to wear comfortable, well-fitting shoes, and avoid tight shoes and high heels. Reader's Digest also suggests you experiment with padding and orthotic inserts, to make your feet more comfortable inside your shoes. If the pain is a problem, you may want to take over-the-counter painkillers or apply hot or cold packs to your feet for relief. However, for full relief, you will need surgery, as explained below. 

How Bunion Surgery Works

Foot surgery is the only way to completely remove a bunion and eliminate pain. Bupa explains in more detail what happens during bunion surgery as well as the different types of procedures, from keyhole surgery to metatarsal osteotomy. Typically, the procedure consists of a specialist foot surgeon cutting away some bone and reshaping it. You will typically be able to leave the hospital on the day of your surgery and will only need over-the-counter painkillers while recovering. However, your foot surgeon will be able to give you more advice on how best to recover. 

Bunions can be painful and can make you feel insecure about the appearance of your feet—if you feel at all worried, speak to your GP and ask about the treatments available.