Bunions: What’s the Best Way to Rid Your Feet of This Unsightly Condition?
According to the Bupa website, it’s believed that around half the adult population in the UK suffers from bunions. Although it’s believed that bunions are a genetic condition, it’s known that the condition is exacerbated by wearing ill-fitting footwear, particularly high-heeled shoes. In the light of this, it’s unsurprising that bunions affect women far more than men.
Why are Bunions Such a Big Problem?
Many people feel self-conscious about their bunions, as they’re very noticeable, particularly when pronounced. Not only are bunions unsightly, but the malformation of the foot means that finding a pair of shoes to fit properly can be a real challenge.
A bunion appears as a large lump on the inside of the foot, just below the big toe. This is due to bone deformity, which develops slowly over the course of many years. However, bunions are more than just an eye-sore. They can cause a variety of symptoms, including:
- Swelling in the affected area
- Pain in the joint, which can be exacerbated by walking or wearing tight shoes
- Hard, callused skin where your big toe and second toe overlap
- Sore skin on the top of the bunion
Due to the fact that bunions are so common, many people don’t even consider going to their doctor to address the problem. However, if your bunion is causing you discomfort or pain, it’s worth booking an appointment with your GP, as there are a range of treatments available to you.
- Non-surgical methods. Initially, it’s likely that your doctor will try a range of non-invasive options, such as orthotics and bunion pads, to try to relieve the pain of impact when you’re walking. You may also be recommended over-the-counter painkillers.
- Self-treatment. In addition to this, there are a number of things you can do at home to help ease the symptoms. Firstly, make sure that you invest in suitable footwear. Ice-packs can also be helpful in terms of reducing pain.
- Physiotherapy. A physiotherapist will be able to give you a set of exercises to do, which will help strengthen the muscles and tendons surrounding the toe. However, it’s important to note that this will only ease pain, not cure the bunion.
Surgery for Bunions
If your bunions are severe and are having a real impact in your life, you may be advised to consider surgery; though this only generally happens once you’ve tried non-invasive techniques for at least 3 months.
Although surgical procedures are mostly effective, and the NHS states that around 85% of patients enjoy marked improvement afterwards, complications can happen, and it’s vital to understand the risks before you commit.
The advantage of surgery, according to Dr Dieter Nollau, consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Goring Hall Hospital, is that it ‘gets rid of the bunion completely’, unlike non-surgical methods, which only address the pain. However, it’s not a decision to be taken lightly, and it’s important to discuss the matter with your doctor first before coming to a decision.
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