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We will diagnose your bunions with a physical examination, and we may also perform an X-ray to help determine the cause of the bunion and how severe it is. The right treatment option for you will be determined by how severe the bunion is, and how much pain it causes. The most common options are non-surgical. 

Women Holding Her Foot.
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How to Know if You Have Bunions

The best way to determine if you have a bunion and need a bunion treatment in Rancho Santa Margarita is to see a foot specialist. However, there are some common symptoms to be aware of so you can look out for them.  These symptoms include:

  • A bump on the outside of the big toe (where the toe joins the foot)
  • Swelling or soreness in the area surrounding the big toe joint
  • Skin over the bony area that is sore and red
  • Pain, either persistent or intermittent
  • Loss of range of motion in your big toe
  • Calluses where the first and second toe overlap

What Causes Bunions?

While it’s not known exactly why some people develop bunions, there are some theories: 

  • Bunions may be a hereditary condition, as some people appear to have an inherited foot type that predisposes them to develop them. 
  • Injuries to the foot can lead to bunions. 
  • Congenital deformities, meaning deformities that are present at birth, can lead to bunions. 
  • There are healthcare providers who believe that wearing tight, narrow, or high-heeled shoes can lead to the development of bunions. At the very least, this type of footwear can certainly aggravate bunions.
  • Individuals with inflammatory arthritis are more prone to developing bunions.

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Can Bunions Cause Complications?

Bunions don’t always cause secondary issues, but there are some common complications that can develop from them. These include:

  • Hammertoe: This is an abnormal bend in the toe that develops in the middle joint. It’s most commonly found in the toe that is beside the big toe. Hammertoe can lead to pain and pressure in the area.
  • Bursitis: Bursitis develops when the bursae (the fluid-filled pads that cushion muscles, tendons, and boxes near joints) become painfully inflamed.
  • Metatarsalgia: This condition causes swelling and pain in the ball of the foot.

Non-Surgical Treatment of Bunions

The most common options for bunion removal in Newport Beach are non-surgical. These are conservative methods that are usually tried before moving to more aggressive treatments.

The first recommendation is typically to wear custom corrective orthotics. We may also recommend splinting, taping, or padding the foot. Padded bunion pads relieve pressure, and taping the toes into a healthy position can ease the pain.

We may also recommend medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen or cortisone shots to the area, which can help ease inflammation. Icing the bunion is another effective way to relieve pain. It is particularly beneficial when you have been on your feet for a long amount of time or the bunion is particularly inflamed.

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Surgical Treatment of Bunions

If non-surgical options fail to relieve the bunion pain, there are a variety of surgical options. Your doctor will choose the surgery that makes the most sense based on the severity and cause of your bunion. Surgery can: 

  • Remove the swollen tissue from around the joint of your big toe 
  • Straighten the big toe by removing part of the bone 
  • Surgically realign the big toe 

Nearly all bunion surgery is done on an outpatient basis, although you will need to arrange for someone to drive you home following the procedure. While you will probably be able to walk immediately after the surgery, full recovery can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. In addition, all surgical procedures include some level of risk. These risks are infrequent, but it’s important that you are aware of them. Possible complications from surgery include nerve damage, infection, failure for the procedure to fully relieve pain, and re-occurrence of the bunion.

Bunion Treatment at Foot & Ankle Specialty Group

In business for 20 years, we are a medical clinic focusing on foot and ankle services for families, individuals, and athletes of all ages. We treat injuries of all kinds at our modern, sophisticated, family-friendly podiatry office. Founded by American Board of Podiatric Surgery Fellow    Dr. Salma Aziz, we are a nurturing female doctor group providing a well-rounded experience — from your first meeting with us to your follow-up care. Our team is supported by Dr. Petrina Yokay and Dr. Jessica Arneson, who bring their own strengths and specialties to Foot & Ankle Specialty Group.

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Bunions FAQs:

How can I stop bunions from developing?

Should I try over-the-counter pads and splints for bunions?

Do bunions become worse without treatment?

How can I stop bunions from developing?

Bunions are not always preventable, but there are ways to reduce your risk of developing them. Select your shoes carefully. Shoes should be wide in the toe box, and there should be space between the end of your big toe and the end of the shoe. They should not squeeze any part of your foot. They should feel comfortable “out of the box”; don’t expect them to feel better after you’ve broken them in.

Should I try over-the-counter pads and splints for bunions?

Over-the-counter pads and splints for bunions can help reduce pain, but these won’t be able to correct a bunion deformity.

Do bunions become worse without treatment?

Everyone’s bunions are different. Most do become worse over time, but not always. Bunions also take longer in certain individuals to become more painful.

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