Bunions are largely hereditary

We often blame tight, narrow-toed shoes for causing bunions. Can shoes that pinch your toes together cause that bony bump at the base of your big toe? Absolutely. But chances are you were going to get them anyway. If your parents and grandparents are living, take a peek at their big toes. If they’ve got bunions, you might be looking at developing them in the future.

Not all bunions are created equal

Your sibling’s or friend’s experience with bunions may not match your own. Bunions vary in size and severity. One person may tolerate a bunion just fine by doing toe-stretching exercises and modifying his or her footwear. Another may manage the pain by wearing orthotic inserts that reduce pressure on the bone. A third might find the pain intolerable and opt for a bunionectomy.

Bunions involve more than just the big toe

A bunion is more a joint problem than a toe problem. Through wear and tear, injury, or existing conditions such as flat feet, the joint at the base of your big toe moves out of place. Over time, the misalignment gets worse. Here’s a typical scenario: the joint enlarges and causes your big toe to point inward, putting pressure on your other toes. Now there’s friction between your big toe and your smaller toes, which can result in corns and calluses. Your smaller toes are at risk of becoming hammertoes.

Recovery time from bunion surgery can vary

Bunion surgery is different for every person, depending on how severe it is and exactly what’s causing it. Surgery can involve cutting and repositioning the joint, removing tissue, removing bone, or fusing bones together. Recovery may mean wearing a protective boot for a few weeks; or, you may need crutches and physical therapy. Modern, minimally invasive techniques can make recovery quicker than in years past.

All of us at Clifton Foot & Ankle Center are here to answer your questions about bunions. We offer many conservative treatments to relieve your pain. If you need bunion surgery, Podiatrist Kenneth R. Wilhelm, DPM will take the time to explain the procedure from beginning to end. Call us at (703) 996-3000 for an appointment at our office in Centreville (Fairfax County), Virginia. Click here to make an appointment online.

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