Bunions, Anyone? (Pray You Don’t have It!)

Bunions are not the rounded edible bulb vegetable you have in your kitchen.  Look down towards your feet.  You might have them; hopefully not, though.

If you do not have irritated skin or blisters on the external side of your toe and do not experience pain when you are walking, that’s good news.  If you do not have redness and pain on your toe joints, and your big toe does not shift towards the other toe, more good news.  But if you have these signs and symptoms, and you don’t like the appearance of your feet as a whole, especially with your toes, you’d better read more; because you might have bunions!

That awkward and painful lump called bunion  (Photo Credit:  Wikipedia)
That awkward and painful lump called bunion (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

It’s  that painful swelling on the base part of the big toe because of new bone formation, and the  affected toe is usually seen as curving outward.  Bunions are often linked with osteoarthritis and bursitis; both of which are degenerative diseases involving joints.  As obvious to the eyes, it has become a deformity because of the deviation of the big toe, causing a pathological bump which is actually due to swelling of the bursal sac and/or a bony part which is called as the mesophalangeal joint.

What causes bunions?

Those who wear high heels and tight-fitting shoes and sandals are commonly affected; the majority are women, of course, but perhaps we should include the feminine version of the masculine population who have likewise shifted to using high heels, too.  However, there are certain studies by experts which point not only to ill-fitting footwear as being the main cause of the formation of bunions.  Rather, there might be underlying genetic structure factors that also explains the formation of bunions; meaning, the footwear has only aggravated the genetic structure of the foot.  For example, having flat feet or abnormal bone structure and the like.

What happens if you have bunions?

–  Having them makes you lose the original shape of your feet.  As a result, there’s a tendency to buy bigger-sized shoes to accommodate the lump caused by bunions.  Sometimes, only one foot has a big lump so the other shoe feels awkward on the other foot; making it a dilemma to shop for shoes that will fit properly.

– Severe cases of bunions bring about pain in different places of the foot even though there are no constricting shoes anymore; it has something to do with the function problem of the forefoot.

How to treat Bunions

In its beginning stage, simple treatments like rest, ice  and change of foot wear plus using foot supports like padding and shielding might just do the trick, though only temporary; but they won’t correct the actual deformity. Use of orthotics like regulators or splints are also recommended as treatment. Others include the use of different footwear like toe separators, bunion splints or regulators, gelled toe spacers or bunion cushions.  Others go as far as using custom-molded orthotic medical devices.

However, when bunions do not improve and the bur sacs get inflamed, medications are necessary because they can be very painful; making it hard for you to  walk, much less, run.  At its worst, surgery is advised when there is severe discomfort or when patients prefer to have the deformity corrected.

A podiatrist performing surgery  (Photo Credit:  Wikipedia)
A podiatrist performing surgery (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

Surgery

Surgery involves removing the bony enlargement in the toe joint to restore its normal alignment.  Depending on the status of the bones in the feet, the podiatrist (who diagnoses and treats foot diseases,  deformities and disabilities) might have to address other bone areas in the foot to recover its balance.  Recovery from surgery can take from 6 to 8 weeks.

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The hair is commonly referred to as the crowning glory, and as such is attended to on a regular basis.  However, the feet takes us where we want to go and assists us in whatever we are doing;  so shouldn’t we give our feet sufficient care and attention, now more than ever?

Bunions!  Get lost!

Web Sources:

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bunion
  • http://www.medicinenet.com/bunions/article.htm
  • http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=2552