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Are Bunions Treatable Without Surgery?

Are Bunions Treatable Without Surgery?

Bunions — those bony bumps that develop at the base of your big toe — aren’t just a cosmetic concern. They’re a source of chronic discomfort for many people, but the thought of bunion surgery can be daunting.

If you have a bunion that’s interfering with your daily life, you’re probably wondering if bunions are treatable without surgery. The answer is yes!

Lisa Burson, DPM, Joe Aoun, DPM, and our team at The Foot & Ankle Specialists offer comprehensive bunion care, including nonsurgical options to manage your pain and prevent your bunion from getting worse. Here’s what you need to know. 

Where bunions come from

A bunion is a bony growth along the side of your foot at the base of your big toe. Bunions typically develop when your big toe pushes against the adjacent toe, forcing the joint of your big toe to get larger and poke outward.

A family history of bunions and having a certain foot shape can increase your risk of getting them. Other factors include wearing tight shoes or high heels for prolonged periods of time.

Effective nonsurgical treatments for bunions

Bunions grow slowly and often worsen over time. The good news is that early intervention can manage the condition. A few of the most effective nonsurgical bunion treatment options are:

Footwear modification

One of the simplest and most effective ways to manage bunions is by wearing comfortable, properly fitting shoes with a wide toe box. Avoiding high heels and shoes with narrow or pointed toes can help alleviate pressure on your bunion and prevent further irritation.

Padding and orthotics

For small bunions, we often recommend trying bunion pads or cushions to provide extra support, reduce friction, and alleviate pain. We also specialize in custom orthotic inserts that redistribute pressure on your foot, which can make a big difference for bunion discomfort.

Toe spacers and splints

Wearing toe spacers during the day can help realign your toes and prevent them from overlapping to minimize pressure on your bunion. Wearing night splints can also help by gently stretching your toe joint and promoting proper alignment while you’re sleeping.

Physical therapy

Physical therapy exercises can help strengthen your foot muscles and improve flexibility in your foot and toe joints. Along with reducing pain and enhancing mobility, working with a physical therapist can also give you guidance on proper foot mechanics to prevent bunion progression.

When to consider bunion surgery

Though many people find relief with nonsurgical treatments, bunion surgery is sometimes necessary. We might discuss bunion surgery with you if you have:

Bunion surgery, or bunionectomy, aims to realign the bone, remove excess tissue, and restore normal function and appearance to the affected joint. Although it comes with recovery and rehabilitation time, it can offer long-lasting relief from bunion discomfort.

If your bunions are causing you pain, it’s time to do something about it. Book an appointment with our team at The Foot & Ankle Specialists to get a bunion personalized treatment plan. Call our offices in Bay City, Caro, and Lapeer, Michigan, or request an appointment online now.

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