By Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care
July 13, 2017
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At Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care, we find that many patients suffer unnecessarily with bunions for a long time before they come for treatment. Partly this is because they are unaware that multiple treatment options exist or because they believe surgery is the only option, which they want to avoid. The truth is, there are many ways to bring relief from bunion pain that are non-invasive. Most of them, however, are most effective when used in the earlier stages of the deformity.

Since bunions are a progressive disorder—meaning that without treatment they will only get worse over time, the sooner you come into our Edison, Monroe or Monmouth Junction office, the better your chances are of avoiding surgery and being able to utilize a conservative treatment method. Our podiatrists, Dr. Varun Gujral and Dr. Nrupa Shah will want to examine your bunion, get a complete medical history (bunions are often due to an inherited biomechanical defect) and probably take an x-ray to assess the extent of the deformity. The x-ray can also serve as a baseline to track the bunion’s progression. Once the foot doctor has a complete picture of your bunion, the appropriate treatment can be determined. Non-surgical options include:

  • Shoe modification: This is the simplest solution. By choosing shoes that are made of a soft, flexible material and have a roomy toe box to accommodate the bony protrusion of the bunion, you can greatly reduce the pain associated with rubbing and pressure from footwear. You also may be able to prevent corns and calluses from forming—two painful conditions often associated with a bunion.
  • Protective padding: If corns or blisters have formed as a result of the bunion, padding on the sore spot may help decrease friction from shoes and allow inflammation and skin irritation to subside.
  • Orthotic devices: Since faulty foot mechanics are the root cause of many bunions, our foot doctor may prescribe a custom orthotic insert for your shoes that will stabilize the joint and correct the positioning of the foot. This will not only increase comfort, but it can also help slow the progression of the bunion.
  • Exercise and physical therapy: Arthritis and joint stiffness are  possible side effects of bunions. Stretching and other exercises can preserve joint mobility.
  • Night splints: These can be worn to help properly align joints and toes. Splints are particularly helpful for adolescents suffering from bunions because their bones are still developing and may be more malleable.

If you have noticed an enlarged joint starting at the base of your big toe or are experiencing any pain or discomfort in this area, contact us as soon as possible by calling: 732-662-3050. The sooner you begin treatment, the faster you will get relief from painful symptoms and be able to slow the bunion’s progression.