It starts out innocently enough — you begin to develop a bump on the inside of your foot at the base of your big toe. All too soon, the tip of your big toe starts to move toward your second toe and the bump becomes more pronounced. If you’re developing bunions, there are several ways you can avoid surgery, if you’re diligent and you act quickly.
At Premier Podiatry, our primary goal is to help our patients in Normal, Pontiac, and Eureka, Illinois, walk freely through life, without pain or mobility-limiting problems. Thankfully, if they’re caught early enough, bunions don’t need to be a source of discomfort or place limitations on your ability to get around.
Here’s a look at how you can take a nonsurgical approach to treating bunions.
If the shoe fits
We’re going to start off with the best piece of advice first: change your shoes. While it may not be what you want to hear as you eye your closet full of today’s trendiest footwear, the fact is that a primary contributor to bunions is shoes that crowd your toes or force them forward.
The propensity for developing bunions is often hereditary or age-related, which are two things you can’t do much about. But how you respond to these risk factors can make all the difference, and this starts with what you wear on your feet.
The bottom line is that shoes with pointy toes, especially ones with heels, are the primary offenders when it comes to encouraging bunions to progress far more quickly. You can put off surgery, or avoid it all together, by swapping out your pointy shoes with ones that allow your toes to function together as they should, each carrying its weight. This means a shoe with enough room in the toe box to allow your toes to fall flat and straight on the ground.
And this doesn’t mean giving up on fashion wear entirely — there are plenty of shoes that fit the bill and look great, too, if you do a little looking around. (If you’re in any doubt about a pair of shoes, we’re happy to take a look to see if they’ll do the job correctly.)
A custom fit
Another great way to stop bunions from becoming worse is through the use of custom orthotics. If your feet are structurally prone to bunions, we can help rebalance the muscles and tendons in your feet with orthotics that are designed for your foot, providing additional support where you need it most. Custom orthotics can help take the pressure off of any one area and redistribute your weight more evenly.
One of the great benefits of custom orthotics is that you can fit them into most shoes, turning your everyday footwear into orthotic devices that help prevent bunions.
A little outside help
Another way to head off a bunion, and surgery, is by wearing night splints that help keep your toes in position, especially your big toe, which tends to migrate toward your second toe when bunions develop.
In addition to a splint, you might also benefit from bunion pads, if your developing bunion becomes inflamed.
Ultimately, if avoiding surgery is your goal, we work with you to find alternative solutions that keep you on your feet and out of the operating room. To learn more, please give us a call, or use the online scheduling tool on this website to request an appointment.