If you look down at your feet and notice a knobby protrusion on the side of your big toe (on either foot), you probably have a bunion, also known as hallux vegas. Bunions develop from pressure on the big toe joint, which causes your big toe to turn inward while the first metatarsal bone of the foot points outward.
Your bunion is more than a cosmetic issue. If you leave it untreated, it could begin to cause physical problems as well. The expert team at Mayfair Foot Care in Commack, New York, sees these issues frequently. Here are six reasons you shouldn’t ignore your bunions.
If your bunion isn’t treated, it will continue to progress, moving your toes more and more out of alignment. This can crowd your other toes, and when you try to compensate for the change, you can alter your balance and even put your entire body out of alignment. If you’re elderly, this could increase the risk of your falls as well.
Because your big toe joint (also called the metatarsophalangeal joint) has developed a problem, the fluid-filled sacs called bursae inside the joint can become inflamed and irritated. This is a painful condition that could require surgery to correct.
Metatarsalgia is a painful inflammation on the ball of your foot, which develops gradually, and causes pain when you’re walking, running, or standing. In turn, this can change the biomechanics of your foot, which can again alter your balance.
As your bunion continues to grow, your foot will become more and more out of alignment. This will limit your options for shoes that will work for your situation. Narrow shoes won’t work because your foot won’t fit, and even if you can somehow slide your foot inside, your bunion will be very painful.
Arthritis occurs over time when the bones of a joint rub directly together because the cartilage between them has worn away. This causes pain in your toe and your big toe joint that can radiate into other areas of your foot, and you may find it hard to bend your toe. Your body will also try to develop more bone, which can lead to painful bone spurs as well.
Your bunion may push your toes so far out of alignment that your middle toes begin to curve down. This condition is called hammertoe because the curve is similar to the head of a hammer. Your toes may even cross over or freeze in position. This will require physical therapy, or even surgery, to correct.
If your bunion is small, treatment could include lifestyle changes, such as shoes that fit better and are more comfortable. Custom orthotics or splints can also help keep your toes in alignment, and if the bunion is severe, surgery may be necessary to correct it.
You want to avoid surgery if possible, so if you have a bunion, the team at Mayfair Foot Care is ready to help. Just call our office or use our convenient online scheduling tool, and we’ll have you on the road to recovery as soon as possible!