Have you recently found out you need bunion surgery in London? Do you suspect you have bunions but don’t know what to do about them?
Approximately 14 million people in the UK deal with bunions.
If you’re one of them (or think you might be), this guide is for you. It breaks down everything you need to know about diagnosing and treating bunions.
Bunions are bony bumps on the joint that connects the base of the big toe to the foot. Some people also develop “bunionettes” — more minor bumps on the joint at the bottom of the little toe.
Bunions occur when bones in the foot shift out of place. When the bones move, the tip of the big toe gets pulled in toward the other toes. As a result, the joint below the big toe sticks out.
A bump on the side of the foot is the most common symptom of bunions. However, you might experience other symptoms, including these:
- Pain and stiffness in/around the big toe joint
- Swelling of the big toe joint
- Difficulty walking
You might also develop corns or calluses between the first and second toes due to them rubbing together.
Several issues can contribute to bunion development. The following are some of the most well-known causes:
- Genetics: If your family has a history of bunions, you’re more likely to develop them as well
- Medical conditions: Conditions like gout, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis can increase your risk of experiencing bunions
- Poorly fitting shoes: If you frequently wear shoes that compress your toes (such as high heels with pointy toes), you’re more likely to deal with bunions
- Foot type: Those with low arches or flat feet are more prone to bunions
Foot injuries or birth deformities can also increase your risk of developing bunions.
Not everyone with bunions needs surgery — at least not right away. Here are some treatment options you can consider if you’re experiencing bunions:
Bunion pads are small cushions that create a soft barrier between your foot and your shoe. Adding extra cushioning can provide some relief and reduce pain while standing or walking.
You can also purchase shoe inserts for additional comfort while standing or walking. Shoe inserts allow for more even pressure distribution when you move, which helps to prevent bunions from getting worse.
You may find over-the-counter inserts that work for your symptoms, or you may need to talk to a specialist about prescription inserts.
Whether you choose bunion pads or shoe inserts, you’ll likely find that certain types of shoes are no longer ideal for you.
If you frequently wear narrow shoes or shoes that compress the toes, it’s time to invest in some more comfortable and supportive alternatives. Otherwise, you’ll end up worsening your bunion symptoms.
Applying ice to your bunions — especially after standing or walking for extended periods — can reduce inflammation, swelling, and soreness. However, those with circulation issues or reduced feeling in their feet should consult a physician before trying this technique.
Many people find relief from the pain, inflammation, and soreness associated with bunions by taking over-the-counter medications like paracetamol or ibuprofen.
If over-the-counter painkillers alone aren’t sufficient for reducing bunion pain, you may also want to consider steroid injections. These injections reduce swelling and are particularly helpful for those who also struggle with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.
Surgery may be your best option for long-term bunion relief, particularly if the above treatments don't work.
Bunion surgery involves the following:
- Cutting bones to realign them in the correct position and fix them with small screws
- Removing prominent bone that causes pain
- Releasing some soft tissue and tightening other parts of the joint
- Cutting out swollen tissue from around the big toe joint
Most physicians recommend bunion surgery to those who experience pain caused by the bony prominence of the bunion.
Surgery might also be helpful when the pain is getting worse or you can’t find properly fitting shoes. Surgery is necessary when your second toe is starting to hurt or changes alignment eg starts to look like a hammer toe.
If you suspect you’re dealing with bunions, meet with a foot specialist as soon as possible. They can diagnose your condition and help you develop a comprehensive treatment plan.