When you think about your overall health and quality of life, the last thing you probably think about is your feet and foot health. But when it comes down to it, mobility and your ability to stand and walk without pain are the heart of almost everything you do from the time you get out of bed in the morning until you turn in for the night.
However, if you count yourself among the 25%-35% of adults who suffer from painful bunions, you’re all too aware that foot pain can wreak havoc on what would otherwise be a pleasant day on the links with friends or playing with your grandchildren. But did you know that this common foot issue can ultimately be debilitating and limit mobility?
In this blog, the highly trained podiatry team at Cardio Metabolic Institute gives you the lowdown on three early signs of bunions and how you can slow down this progressive condition.
Let’s set the stage for this discussion by giving a quick primer on what a bunion is and why it develops in the first place. In Latin terminology, “hallux valgus” translates to “big toe” and “turned away,” which aptly describes what this progressive condition looks like.
A bunion appears as a bony bump that typically develops on the side of the big toe, but it’s actually a misalignment issue that, if left untreated, can physically transform the bones that make up the front part of your foot.
Slowly over time, due to years of pressure on the metatarsophalangeal or the big toe joint, the joint is pushed out of normal alignment, resulting in the bony bump. This misalignment is not only painful, but it also can result in limited mobility.
Although it may seem natural to look at lifestyle causes for bunions like ill-fitting narrow-toed shoes, bunions tend to be hereditary because they’re connected to particular foot shapes. Bunions can happen to anyone, but if you have low arches or flat feet, you’re more at risk for developing bunions. There are a few common early signs of bunions to keep an eye on.
Because a bunion transforms normal foot mechanics, it also creates increased pressure, irritation, and friction on your skin. This in turn creates a perfect storm for the development of corns and calluses. If you notice that you’re getting more corns and calluses, you could be experiencing the early symptoms of a bunion.
Similarly, for some people the beginning stages of a bunion that create irritation and friction may also trigger inflammation and redness, particularly near the metatarsophalangeal joint.
A burning sensation, ache, pain, and tenderness are also common early signs that a bunion is forming. For some people, the pain may be so severe at times that it becomes difficult to wear shoes.
The inconvenient truth about bunions is they don’t go away on their own. Because bunions are a progressive condition, they continue to grow and become more painful, debilitating, and even may cause irreversible damage without treatment.
Here at Cardio Metabolic Institute, our podiatrists use state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging to evaluate the severity of your bunions efficiently, so we can start getting you on the road to feeling less pain and getting back to your everyday activities.
You know that wearing tight shoes can contribute to or aggravate the problem, so making smart shoe choices is a start. Part of your treatment plan may also include custom orthotics.
These tailor-made shoe inserts are designed for your unique foot shape and how you walk. Custom orthotics can address alignment issues and take excessive pressure off of the metatarsophalangeal joint, thereby relieving discomfort and inflammation.
If you’re suffering from bunion pain and want to learn how we can help, contact Cardio Metabolic Institute in Somerset, Monroe Township, Edison, and East Brunswick, New Jersey. Click the “Book online” button or call today. You don’t have to live another day with bunion pain.