The human body is an amazing biomechanical structure. Combined, there are well over a thousand muscles, bones, and connective tissues (ligaments and tendons) that allow us to move in all the ways that we can. This all works quite well when everything is where it is supposed to be, but conditions like bunions can interfere with this. The good news is that Advanced Foot and Ankle can provide treatment to alleviate painful symptoms and allow you to perform favorite activities.
An Intro to Bunions
This condition develops in the first metatarsophalangeal joint (base of the big toe, where the toe connects to the foot). This joint is comprised of the bone in the toe (phalange) and the long bone in the foot (metatarsal bone). When the metatarsal bone starts angling outwards as the phalange angles inwards, they lead to the formation of the bump on the inside edge of the foot.
The “Little Sibling”—a Bunionette
A similar foot deformity occurs in another part of your foot. Instead of happening on the inside edge, this one forms on the outer edge, right where the small toe connects to the foot. It can be caused by excessive pressure in the area or as the result of a structural abnormality.
Bunion Treatment Options
You can attempt to treat yours at home. Methods, like applying an ice pack a couple of times daily or using non-medicated pads, might help. Additionally, wearing shoes that are wide in the front will prevent the bump from being irritated by the inside of your footwear. Shoes with high heels taller than 2” will place excessive pressure on the front of the foot and should be avoided as much as possible.
When these don’t provide the relief you need, professional treatment plans at our office will always start with conservative practices, like:
- Medication – We may recommend ibuprofen, naproxen, or acetaminophen to relieve pain. Cortisone injections are another possible option we might use.
- Splinting, padding, and/or taping – These methods can help place the foot into a normal position, which will reduce pressure and stress on the affected joint and alleviate painful symptoms.
- Shoe inserts – Depending on your specific condition, we might elect to use padded shoe inserts, over-the-counter arch supports, or prescription orthotic devices to relieve painful symptoms.
- Icing regimen – After a long day on your feet, icing can help relieve inflammation and soreness. We will provide a program that works best for you.
In some cases, when conservative care isn’t enough, we may need to use a surgical procedure to correct the condition. Dr. Wettstein is trained in several advanced bunion surgical techniques, including Lapiplasty.
Lapiplasty is a minimally invasive procedure that uses specially designed tools to fully realign and rotate the affected metatarsal and toe without cutting any bone, then securing the unstable joint in the midfoot to prevent recurrence. For qualified patients, Lapiplasty allows for a faster recovery and return to walking and lower recurrence rate than traditional procedures. Dr. Wettstein is proud to have been designated a Platinum Centurion in Lapiplasty, having successfully performed the procedure more than 100 times.
Other bunion surgery options include removing swollen tissue, removing part of the bone to straighten the big toe, fusing bones to permanently straighten them, or realigning the bones to correct the abnormal angle. We will carefully evaluate your condition and discuss with you which procedure or procedures we think are most appropriate for your circumstances.
The most likely cause for bunion development is an inherited structural abnormality, but there are still steps that can be taken to prevent the condition from developing or—should it already be present—from worsening. These preventative measures are centered on wearing the right type of shoes that fit correctly.
Avoid shoes that irritate or cramp your toes. Always pick models that feature wide toe boxes. If you cannot wiggle your toes freely, choose a different pair. There should also be about a thumb’s width between the front of the shoe and the longest toe.
Professional Bunion Care in Twin Falls, ID
Don’t let the pain from a troublesome bump on your foot take away your ability to enjoy your favorite activities or handle daily tasks! Come in and find the care you need here in our Twin Falls, ID foot doctor office. We offer conservative care methods, but also have the experience you want from a foot surgeon when a surgical procedure is required.