Bunions: When to call an ARC Podiatrist

Bunions: When to call an ARC Podiatrist

Bunions can be more than just a cosmetic concern—they can cause discomfort, affect mobility, and impact overall quality of life. Understanding the underlying causes of bunions and exploring effective treatment options is crucial for patients dealing with this common foot ailment. "Bunions are often misunderstood, but they stem from a combination of genetic predisposition, foot structure, and lifestyle factors," says Vikas A. Godhania, DPM, FACFAS, Podiatry at ARC Far West Medical Tower in Austin. "By addressing the root causes and implementing appropriate treatment strategies, we can provide relief and improve foot health."

What is a bunion?

A bunion, medically known as hallux valgus, is a bony bump that forms at the joint where the big toe meets the foot. It occurs when the big toe pushes against the adjacent toe, forcing the joint of the big toe to enlarge and protrude outward. The often-noticeable "bump" is not new bone or overgrowth of bone but actually the metatarsal itself.

What causes bunions?

Several factors contribute to the development of bunions, including:

  • Genetics: Bunions can run in families, indicating a hereditary predisposition.
  • Foot structure: Certain foot shapes, such as flat feet or low arches, can increase the risk of bunions.
  • Improper footwear: Tight, narrow shoes or high heels can squeeze the toes together, exacerbating bunion formation.
  • Overpronation: Excessive inward rolling of the foot while walking can put pressure on the big toe joint, leading to bunions.

How are bunions treated at ARC?

At ARC Podiatry, we offer a comprehensive approach to bunion treatment, tailored to each patient's unique needs. "By addressing bunions early on, we can prevent further progression, alleviate discomfort, and restore proper function to your feet," says Daniel T. Halloran, DPM, FACFAS, Podiatry at ARC Cedar Park Building B and ARC Medical Park Tower Orthopedics in Austin. "Seeking treatment for bunions is a positive investment in your well-being." ARC Podiatry treatment options include:

Conservative measures: Nonsurgical treatments that may relieve the pain and pressure of a bunion include:

  • Changing shoes: Wear roomy, comfortable shoes that provide plenty of space for your toes.
  • Accommodative padding: Over-the-counter, nonmedicated bunion pads or cushions can act as a buffer between your foot and your shoe and ease your pain.
  • Medications: Taking anti-inflammatory medications can help alleviate bunion symptoms and slow their progression.
  • Injections: Cortisone injections can reduce the pain and swelling of the bursa that can develop over the bunion.
  • Orthotic inserts: Padded shoe inserts can help distribute pressure evenly when you move your feet, reducing your symptoms and preventing your bunion from getting worse.
  • Applying ice: Icing your bunion after you've been on your feet too long or if it becomes inflamed can help relieve soreness and swelling.

Surgical intervention: If conservative treatments fail to provide relief or if the bunion is severe and causes significant pain or deformity, surgery may be recommended. There are various surgical procedures available with the goal of relieving pain and correcting as much deformity as possible.

Lapiplasty® 3D Bunion Correction™: For severe bunions, state-of-the-art Lapiplasty® 3D Bunion Correction™, a surgical technique that corrects the root cause of bunion deformities, is one surgical approach. Lapiplasty repairs the underlying bone structure and restores the foot's natural form. The procedure is associated with faster recovery times and improved functional outcomes, allowing individuals to return to their normal activities with confidence.

"The advantage of Lapiplasty is that it provides a more stable and long-term correction compared to traditional bunion surgeries, allowing patients to return to their normal activities faster with less risk of recurrence," says Dr. Godhania.

Risks and complications of untreated bunions

Leaving bunions untreated can lead to various complications, including:

  • Chronic pain: Bunions can cause ongoing pain and discomfort, making it difficult to walk or engage in physical activities.
  • Bursitis: Inflammation of the bursa sac near the bunion can occur, resulting in swelling, tenderness, and redness.
  • Hammertoe: Bunions can cause the second toe to become deformed and bend downward, leading to hammertoe.
  • Limited mobility: Severe bunions can decrease the movement of the big toe joint, affecting balance and mobility.

"Addressing bunions comprehensively involves understanding the individual's unique circumstances, from their foot structure to their lifestyle habits," says Dr. Halloran. "By combining conservative measures, innovative treatments, and ongoing support and care, we can effectively manage bunions and improve overall foot health."

Make an appointment today

ARC Podiatrists specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of foot and ankle issues in patients of all ages. They address lower leg health, offering medical, orthotic, and surgical solutions for various ailments such as bunions and stress fractures, as well as pediatric issues such as flat foot and plantar warts.

Dr. Godhania sees patients of all ages and Dr. Halloran sees patients ages 4 and up. Make an appointment through ARC MyChart or ARC Help Me Book today. Don't let foot or ankle pain hold you back from enjoying life to the fullest—schedule a consultation today and take the first step towards healthier, happier feet.

Tags: Bunions, Lapiplasty® 3D Bunion Correction™