Beat the Bunion Blues Before Being Benched

During this April’s National Foot Health Awareness Month, the California Podiatric Medical Association (CPMA) is spotlighting perhaps the most common ailment afflicting the foot: the bunion.

  • Share on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on LinkedInEmail a friend
Your feet shouldn't hurt!

Sacramento, California (PRWEB) April 24, 2013

“Do you have a bony bump on your big toe? If so, it just might be a bunion!” said California Podiatric Medical Association Director Rebecca Moellmer, DPM. Dr. Moellmer is a podiatric physician and surgeon on faculty with the College of Podiatric Medicine at Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, California.

A bunion is an abnormal, bony bump that forms on the joint at the base of the big toe. Bunions form when the big toe pushes up against the other toes, forcing the big toe joint in the opposite direction, away from the normal profile of the foot. Over time, the abnormal position enlarges the big toe joint, further crowding the other toes and causing pain. Bunions can also lead to other toe deformities, such as hammertoe, where the joints in the adjoining toes also begin to bend.

“Many people with bunions suffer from discomfort and pain as a result of the constant irritation caused by the friction and rubbing of the enlargement against footwear,” said Dr. Moellmer.

Dr. Moellmer went on to say that with bunions “the skin covering the toe can become red and tender, and because this joint flexes with every step, the more inflamed the bunion gets, the more it hurts to walk. Over time arthritis or bursitis may set in, and everyday walking may become difficult – all contributing to chronic pain.”

Studies show that women are anywhere from two to nine times more likely to develop a bunion than men! Bunions can occur for a number of reasons, but a common cause is wearing shoes that fit too tightly. Bunions can also develop as a result of an inherited structural defect, stress on the foot, or a medical condition such as arthritis.

Treatment options vary depending on the severity of the bunion and the amount of pain it causes.

Conservative treatment
Nonsurgical treatments that may relieve the pain and pressure of a bunion include:

  • Shoe changes. Wear roomy, carefully-fitted footwear designed to accommodate the bunion and not contribute toward its growth. Podiatric physicians are an excellent resource for finding the right shoe and getting the right fit.
  • Padding and taping. A podiatric physician can help tape and pad an affected foot in a normal position. This can reduce stress on the bunion and alleviate pain.
  • Shoe inserts. Orthotic devices can help distribute pressure evenly when the foot is moved, stabilize the joint, and place the foot in a correct position for walking and standing. A podiatric physician can recommend the orthotic device best suited for a particular type of bunion and its stage of development.
  • Exercise. Helps to maintain joint mobility and prevent stiffness or arthritis.
  • Medications. Acetaminophen (Tylenol, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others) or naproxen sodium (Aleve, others) may help control the pain of a bunion. Cortisone injections also can be helpful, and can be prescribed and administered by a podiatric physician.

Surgical options
If conservative treatment doesn't provide relief, surgery may be required. Podiatric physicians are trained to perform a number of surgical procedures for bunions. It is important to note that no particular surgery is best for every problem, and knowing what caused a particular bunion is essential for choosing the best procedure to ensure correction without recurrence.

Podiatric physicians are uniquely qualified among medical professionals to treat bunions, based on their education, training, and experience. Finding a licensed California podiatric physician is just a click away at CalPMA.org.

Podiatric physicians from across the nation will gather at the Disneyland Hotel and Convention Center in Anaheim, California for the 2013 Western Foot and Ankle Conference (The Western), June 20-23. One of the premier podiatric surgery, medicine, and management conferences in the nation, and the largest west of the Mississippi, The Western will showcase the latest techniques, tools, and technologies in the treatment and care of the foot and ankle, one of the most complex structures of the human body. The educational faculty features a stellar lineup of national authorities in podiatric surgery, medicine, sports medicine, infection control, chronic pain, pediatric care, and diabetic wound care.

Valuable information, entertainment and exciting new products will all be on display at the June 20-23 event. The exhibit floor will feature dozens of companies showcasing the latest in medicine, surgery and management technology, products and services.

For more information on The Western Foot and Ankle Conference visit TheWestern.org. For more information on Beating the Bunion Blues go to CalPMA.org.

Founded in 1912, the California Podiatric Medical Association (CPMA) is the leading and recognized professional organization for California’s doctors of podiatric medicine (DPMs). DPMs are podiatric physicians and surgeons, also known as podiatrists, qualified by their education, training and experience to diagnose and treat conditions affecting the foot, ankle and structures of the leg.

CPMA, keeping Californians on their Feet – Healthy, Active and Productive!