Getting It Straight: Treatment and Relief for Bunions
May 14, 2018
When the first joint of the foot shifts and your big toe is no longer straight, this can become a positional problem called a bunion. While the bad news about bunions is that they will progressively get worse, foot and ankle specialist Michael Maskill, DPM, recently discussed different treatment options and provided practical tips at a community seminar.
“Bunions are very common, and while they can create significant issues, they are something we treat all the time,” said Dr. Maskill.
When symptoms, ranging from pain and redness to numbness, begin to impact quality of life, there are options.
“Conservative treatment is our first line of approach, without question,” said Dr. Maskill.
Non-surgical options include the following:
• Shoe modification. Wearing a wider shoe makes room in the shoe for the bunion, which can help relieve pain.
• Toe spacers. When a bunion causes the big toe to lean into the second toe, a toe spacer can help make you more comfortable.
• Orthotics. Shoe inserts can help stabilize the midline and slow down the progression of bunions. You should go up a half size larger than your normal shoe size to provide enough room for an orthotic (usually limited to a tennis shoe).
• Achilles tendon stretches. As the strongest muscle unit in your body, an overly tight Achilles tendon can intensify symptoms.
According to Dr. Maskill, it’s important to understand one of the most common myths about non-surgical treatment: bunion splints.
“No product has the ability to permanently retrain a big toe to create stability,” said Dr. Maskill. “Unfortunately, the second you take the splint off, the toe will move back.”
When non-surgical options don’t provide enough relief, outpatient surgery is an option. The procedure will help straighten the bone, remove the bump, tighten ligaments, and bring the toe or toes back into alignment. Although recovery requires six to eight weeks of being off your feet, Dr. Maskill assures his patients that, in the end, taking the steps toward pain-free feet is worth it.
Learn more from the full video below: