What’s the Best Treatment for Bunions? Seeing a Bunion Specialist for Starters. Here’s Why

What's a Best Treatment for a Bunion? Not Waiting to See Your Doctor

As we mature, we learn to deal with the inevitable bumps in the road and lumps in our throat. But we’re not always ready to cope when the lumps and bumps show up on our feet.

The irrational belief that a problem will go away all by itself seems to be deeply ingrained in human nature. Take, just as a random example (and because they’re the subject of this blog), bunions.

What’s a bunion?

Bunions are a common foot problem in America. A quarter to a third (mostly women and older folks) of U. S. adults are affected by them. It’s easy and tempting to pay no attention to a bunion, at least at its inception. But bunions never go away by themselves.

A bunion begins as a barely noticeable and usually painless protrusion on the inside edge of your foot, where the long bone on the inside of your foot (the first metatarsal) meets your big toe. (When a bunion occurs in the joint between the outer metatarsal and the little toe, it’s called a tailor’s bunion.)

The joint between the first metatarsal and your big toe is supposed to be 180°, i.e., a straight-line. A bunion is the result of that joint bending outward. The head of the metatarsal will poke out, while the big toe will become displaced. As your bunion grows (it will surely grow), your big toe will gradually creep over (or under) its neighbor.

When to see a specialist about your bunion problems

In its early stages, a bunion is easy to ignore. Don’t do it. That’s when your bunion is easiest to treat. A good rule of thumb is to visit your podiatrist when your bunion has begun to interfere in any way with your life. The fact that you’ve noticed your bunion is one indication it may already be interfering with your life.

Conservative bunion treatment is most likely to permanently prevent a need for surgery. See your podiatrist when:

  • Your bunion has limited the range of motion in your big toe
  • Your bunion has begun to cause significant pain
  • Friction between your bunion and your shoe is causing sores, calluses, or corn

What kinds of conservative bunion treatment are we talking about?

Dr. Baravarian says, “Any bunion can be fixed. The only way to completely and permanently resolve a bunion problem is surgically. However, there are many non-surgical treatments that will slow down or even stop the growth of a bunion. They can provide bunion pain relief and perhaps eliminate the need for surgery.”

How to ease bunion pain

Best Treatment for Bunions

  • Appropriate shoes. Custom orthotics are available to control the abnormal foot motion that causes both the size of the bunion, and the pain it causes, to increase
  • Bunion pads, made from silicone gel or “moleskin” (it’s a synthetic material, not really made from the hides of cute little furry rodents)
  • Medications, including topical medications, over-the-counter anti-inflammatories, and occasional, short-term only, use of steroids/cortisone
  • Exercises and stretches that help realign the first metatarsal and the big toe

We are now also achieving good results from cutting-edge bunion treatments (but with no actual cutting) such as Botulin Toxin.

Bunion surgery is always and only a last resort

The decision to intervene surgically is always yours. Dr. Baravarian, UFAI’s co-director maintains that “Bunion surgery is to be contemplated only when you’ve decided that the pain from your bunion, and its interference with your life, has become unacceptable.”

At UFAI, we have successfully treated over 20,000 bunions. That experience has taught us that no one surgical technique is appropriate for all bunions. Each bunion demands, and you deserve, the surgical modality which provides the most effective relief.

It’s important to consult your doctor early in the life of the bunion. Dr. Baravarian notes that “As the bunion grows, so does the difficulty of the requisite surgery”.

But, no matter the size of the bunion, the surgical experts of UFAI have mastered all appropriate surgical procedures for each and every bunion. We consistently and successfully remedy even the most severe bunions.

If you’re experiencing bunion problems, we’re here to help. Our nationally recognized ankle and foot specialists offer the most advanced podiatric care and the highest success rates in the nation. We are leaders in the research and treatment of all foot and ankle conditions.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, please call (877) 736-6001 or visit us at www.footankleinstitute.com.

Dr. Justin Franson, DPM

Dr. Justin Franson, DPM

After studying accounting and then leaning toward a physical therapy at Brigham Young University, Dr. Franson decided to pursue podiatry as his career. He then attended the School College of Podiatric Medicine in Chicago.

Upon graduation in 2001, Franson accepted a three-year residency program at the Greater Los Angeles VA and UCLA County Hospital.

Dr. Franson specializes in several areas including total ankle replacement and sports medicine.
Dr. Justin Franson, DPM

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