How Can I Prevent My Bunions From Getting Worse?

How Can I Prevent My Bunions From Getting Worse?

We use our feet all the time which sometimes leads to normal aches and pains. But if you notice a painful bony bump at the base of your big toe, you could be dealing with bunions. This condition affects millions of people, including 23% of adults aged 18-65 and 36% of adults over 65.

Patients in the Wexford, Pennsylvania area facing foot problems can find help with Dr. William T DeCarbo and his experienced medical team at Greater Pittsburgh Foot & Ankle Center. We are dedicated to providing you with compassionate and exceptional care so you can find lasting relief from many foot and ankle conditions, including bunions.

Conservative treatments can often improve many bunion cases. To learn how to prevent bunions from getting worse, we discuss how bunions affect your feet, their symptoms and causes, and their treatment and prevention. 

How bunions affect your feet

Your feet are made up of bones, tendons, and muscles that are essential to mobility and balance. A bunion is a bony bump that forms on your big toe that can cause it to get pushed into the remaining toes on your foot. This can lead to difficulty walking and cause pain in other areas of your body, like your hips, knees, and back.

Symptoms and causes of bunions

You can often identify bunions thanks to the tell-tale bump at the base of your big toe. This bump can make it harder to get shoes to fit, but forcing your feet in can actually make the bunion worse.

However, people with bunions also experience symptoms such as

  • Swelling and redness around the big toe
  • Corns and calluses where the first two toes rub together
  • Intermittent pain
  • Reduced movement of your big toe
  • Limited mobility

Bunions can develop for several reasons, such as injuries or stress on the foot, birth defects, or even a family history of the condition. Other risk factors that lead to bunions include ill-fitting shoes, high heel shoes, and rheumatoid arthritis. If bunions aren’t treated, they can lead to other foot problems like bursitis, hammertoe, or pain in the ball of your foot (metatarsalgia).

Treatment and prevention

Our team offers minimally invasive Lapiplasty® 3D Bunion Correction for bunions that require surgical treatment. However, there are many nonsurgical ways to manage the condition and prevent it from getting worse, including:

Wear comfortable shoes

Ill-fitting, tight, or narrow shoes can actually lead to bunions or make them worse. It’s important to find a shoe that fits comfortably to prevent exacerbating the problem. This means knowing your foot measurements, using inserts if they make your feet more comfortable, and avoiding flip flops, high heels, and tight shoes. 

Treat your feet

You only get two feet to use your whole life, so be sure to take care of them when problems like bunions arise. If your feet are uncomfortable, take some time to help them rest and recover. 

There are many things you can do to treat your feet at home, such as: 

  • Massage your feet
  • Soak them in Epsom salt
  • Ice them to reduce pain and inflammation
  • Elevate them to reduce swelling
  • Stretch your toes

Not only can these tips alleviate your symptoms, but they can also prevent existing bunions from getting worse or future problems from developing. 

Use pain relievers

If you’re experiencing serious foot pain, it’s important to speak to our team for a diagnosis. However, after discussing a treatment plan with us, don’t hesitate to use over-the-counter pain relievers to manage your symptoms. 

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and naproxen are particularly effective because they can help with pain while reducing inflammation.

Maintain a healthy weight

Your feet bear the weight of your whole body, so the heavier you are, the more pressure you put on them. Maintaining a healthy weight can make a big difference in the amount of stress your feet endure regularly.

Bunions can be very unpleasant to deal with, but we can help you manage them. If you’re ready to get relief from bunions or other foot problems, make an appointment with Dr. DeCarbo and Greater Pittsburgh Foot & Ankle Center today.