Southern Oregon Podiatrists Answer Your Top Questions About Foot and Ankle Pain
Stop questioning your foot and ankle pain. Start getting answers! Read our FAQ articles for tips from our Southern Oregon podiatrists to help you feel better and get healthy.
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What is the difference between a bunion and bunionette?
Bunions and bunionettes are related conditions that are both centered on a toe moving out of position and the resulting problems in the respective metatarsophalangeal joint (MTPJ). The key difference between the two is that a bunion happens with the big toe and a bunionette on the other side of the foot, with the little toe.
In each case, the toe starts to bend inwards towards the other four toes. This results in the end of the toe bone that is closest to the foot jutting out to the side. In the case of a bunion, the bone juts in towards the middle of your body. For a bunionette, it juts to the outside edge of your foot. In both cases, there is a bump at the MTPJ.
Both conditions can lead to pain and discomfort. When you experience this, contact our office and let us help you find the relief you need. Call our Medford, OR office at (541) 776-3338 or use our online form to contact us today and request an appointment.
What should I look for in shoes when I have a bunion?
Shoe shopping can be one of the most difficult aspects of dealing with a bunion. Improper footwear can crowd the toes inflicting pain, and rough fabrics or seams can irritate the skin. Luckily, we have some tips to make the experience a little easier. Stay away from shoes with pointed toes and high heels. Large toe boxes and shorter heels will benefit you the most.
While flip-flops may seem like a great idea, since they allow the toes the freedom of space, the straps often irritate the bunion. Bunion pads and sleeves can help to alleviate this problem with certain sandals. Brooks, New Balance, and Saucony manufacture running shoes with a comfortable amount of space for toes. When purchasing a shoe, buy a pair half a size larger than you need to reduce pressure. For any further questions on correct footwear for your bunion condition, please feel free to schedule an appointment online or call our office at 541-776-3338
How long does it take to recover from bunion surgery?
Like any surgery, the length of the recovery period depends on the severity of the condition and the way the surgery was performed. A significant bunion that needs a more complicated surgery takes longer to heal than a smaller and simpler one. Generally recovery takes anywhere from six weeks to a several months, though it could possibly be longer if the correction you needed was extensive or if complications arise.
After the surgery, you will need to both rest your foot and keep your incision site clean and clear to prevent infection and encourage healing. Dr. Evan Merrill will let you know when you are able to put weight on your foot again. Though you will need some time off from work after the surgery, how long depends on the demands of your job. If you have a painful bunion that isn’t being relieved by conservative treatments, surgery might be your best option. Don’t wait and let the pain disrupt your life. Contact Southern Oregon Foot & Ankle, L.L.C. in Medford for an appointment or more information by visiting our contact page or by calling (541) 776-3338.
Do I have to have surgery to fix my bunion?
No. Surgery is not always necessary for bunion correction. It is important to find out the underlying cause of a bunion in order to decide which treatment will work best to relieve pain.
If tight shoes and narrow toe boxes are the root cause of your bunion, choosing proper footwear with more room for the toes is highly recommended. If you have a bunion, consider replacing high heels with shoes that have better support and don’t put as much pressure on the ball of the foot. Custom orthotics can be prescribed by a foot specialist in order to support weak foot structures and reduce the likelihood that a bunion will become severe.
Stretching the feet is a great way to help relieve the tightness of joints and the pressure of a bunion. Small, easy exercises will strengthen the tissues in the feet and reduce tension.
In severe cases, however, surgery may be the only option to reduce pain and correct the deformity. This type of procedure is called a bunionectomy, and is performed to remove the growth on the side of the toe and realign the bone to its natural position.
How did I get a bunion?
The most common causes of bunions are improper footwear and structural weakness. Both of these are factors that may cause the foot to unevenly bear the body’s weight and cause an imbalance.
Women tend to be victims of bunions more often than men due to their choice in shoes. Women that wear high heels are more likely to develop a bunion because of the extra pressure and stress that the shoes place on the front of the foot. Combine pressure and tight, closed toe boxes that force the front of the feet and toes into an unnatural position and you have a recipe for a bunion.
Bunions tend to run in families and may be inherited along with structural weakness in the foot. Other causes include diseases like arthritis that may cause the cartilage in the big toe to deteriorate and allow the joint to slip out of its natural position.