Your foot has 33 joints, and they all need to function properly for you to get the stability and balance needed to move throughout your day pain-free. Unfortunately, one of those joints — the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint at the base of your big toe — often runs into problems.
A deformity there leads to a bunion, which can cause discomfort and mobility problems. That’s especially true if you leave the issue unchecked.
Fortunately, if you catch the bunion early, nonsurgical treatments can often help to alleviate any discomfort and prevent the issue from worsening. Here at Vittori Foot & Ankle Specialist in Homer Glen and New Lenox, Illinois, Christopher Vittori, DPM, and Ameet Thakrar, DPM, can assess your foot and determine if these nonsurgical treatments are right for you.
Adjusting your shoes
For starters, you need to wear comfortable, stable footwear that has plenty of room in the toe box for the base of your big toe. Narrow-toed and high-heeled shoes can trigger and worsen a bunion because of the pressure they put on the MTP joint.
Not only can Dr. Thakrar and Dr. Vittori help you identify good footwear options, but our team can also help you modify your shoes to treat your bunion. That might mean adding custom orthotics to them or wearing toe separators or bunion pads. We might also show you how to splint your toe in your shoe to encourage your joint to function properly.
Strengthening your foot muscles can help to treat a bunion by lessening the pain it causes and improving your mobility. Dr. Vittori and Dr. Thakrar can recommend specific exercises and stretches to address your bunion.
A lot of the discomfort that a bunion causes results from inflammation. Fortunately, you can address it in two effective ways. First, ice packs work well to soothe inflammation and the resulting pain. Applying an ice pack for 15-20 minutes after a long day on your feet may help you find relief.
Depending on the severity of your bunion, we might also recommend anti-inflammatory medication. In some cases, this might be as simple as taking an over-the-counter option like acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
Some people get sufficient relief from their bunion discomfort with nonsurgical treatments like the ones we just outlined.
If these options don’t work for you, though, our team can explore bunion surgery with you. This way, your toe gets the direct care it needs to correct its MTP joint, bringing you pain relief while improving your mobility.
To explore all of your options for addressing a bunion — and to do it soon, when nonsurgical treatments will be most effective — call Vittori Foot & Ankle Specialist or schedule an appointment online today.