Can Bunions Be Treated Without Surgery?
A bunion is a common problem that primarily occurs in women, but can develop in nearly any foot. A person with a bunion present experiences a bony and hard protuberance at the base of the big toe, where connection to the foot is made. A bunion is more than just a bump on the foot, but can become a chronic and painful foot condition.
Most bunions may be treated without surgery. However, in serious cases, a podiatrist may recommend surgery as an alternative treatment. This occurs when routine non-surgical treatments fail to provide relief for the patient.
Through careful examination of the foot and a complete medical history a foot specialist can determine if you have a bunion. The anatomy of the foot is examined during the assessment and radiographs or x-rays may be ordered. The x-rays can determine the integrity of the foot bones and joints, as well as uncover any underlying problems such as arthritis or gout.
Your doctor may order x-rays at the time of assessment in order to get a clear indication of the foot problem. X-rays are a superb method of calculating the proper alignment of the toes to see if any shifting has taken place.
One of the most common non-surgical treatments that can be conducted at home is rest. The foot should be rested for a long period of time, while avoiding any activity that may increase pain or exacerbate the condition. Wearing loose or wider shoes during the healing process may be necessary, especially if the condition is painful.
Your doctor, to help reduce the inflammation and swelling, may administer anti-inflammatory medications. The anti-inflammatories will also reduce the pain experienced from the bunion. Over-the-counter medications may help relieve the inflammation and swelling. Some of the common medications used are Advil, Motrin, Aleve and Naprosyn.
Application of an ice pack on the affected area also helps to reduce the pain and swelling, especially after the bunion was aggravated through physical activity or tight shoes. Your podiatrist may also recommend stretching exercises along the inner part of the joint of the bunion to help reduce the tension and pressure that may build when the condition becomes exacerbated.
Your podiatrist may also fit you for a small foot brace or padding, which can help make bunions much less painful.
The last resort for many with severe bunions, prior to surgery, is a cortisone treatment. A local cortisone injection directly into the bunion can help reduce inflammation of the joint at the base of the big toe. Your doctor may administer cortisone injections on several visits if the pain becomes severe and other methods of treatment are providing limited relief.