Large bunions aren’t just an aesthetic issue. They can cause extreme discomfort and pain at even the slightest pressure. Dr. Adejoke Babalola, the Podiatrist of Perfect Footcare in New York City specializes in minimal incision surgery to correct the problem and get you back on your feet.

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What are bunions?

Bunions are often described as a bump on the outside of the big toe, and are the bony formations on the joints of the big toes that are created when your big toe pushes into the next toe. A bunionette, or Tailor’s bunion, is the same thing on the other side of the foot at the base of the fifth metatarsal, or little toe.

What causes bunion pain?

Largely, bunions are an inherited structural defect, but can also be caused or exacerbated by:

  • Arthritis
  • High heels or ill-fitting shoes
  • Foot stress or injury

Podiatrists are unsure whether ill-fitting shoes or high heels can cause bunions to form, but they concur that poor footwear can make the problem worse.

The pain caused by bunions can range from a dull ache to severe pain in the big toe and bunion itself. Often, people report even the slightest pressure on the bunion can cause acute bunion pain. Other symptoms include:

  • Inflammation
  • Redness
  • Burning sensation
  • Numbness

How is bunion pain treated?

Before a treatment is recommended, Dr. Babalola performs different tests to discover the root of the problem, which include:

  • X-rays
  • Blood sample (to determine if arthritis or gout exists)
  • Visual examination and historical analysis

Once the diagnosis is made, Dr. Babalola recommends several options, depending on the severity of the condition.

Orthotics: Shoe inserts, bunion pads, taping, or splints may be recommended to alleviate the discomfort.

Medications: Treating the condition medically with anti-inflammatory medications or cortisone injections.

Surgery: Dr. Babalola specializes in minimal incision surgery. Surgical procedures typically remove the bump of the bone, correct the changes in the bony structure of the foot, and correct soft tissue changes that may have also occurred. Some procedures are minor enough that special shoes or a walking boot are all that’s needed afterward. More complex procedures may involve a non-weight-bearing period.

The goal of any of these corrections is the elimination of pain and the prevention of further complications. For example, when bunions form, they can also cause:

  • Bursitis — inflamed bursae sacs
  • Hammertoe — a bend in the middle toes at the middle joint
  • Metatarsalgia — pain and inflammation in the ball of the foot