Also known as ‘hallux valgus,’ a bunion is a deformity in which the big toe angles excessively towards the second toe, leading to a bony lump on the side of the foot. This can also form a large sac of fluid, known as a bursa, which can then become inflamed and sore. If you’re dealing with the pain and frustration of bunions on one or both of your feet, our staff can help you find the relief you’ve been searching for. To learn more, simply reach out to Synergy Foot and Ankle at our McKinney location, and set up your consultation with a member of our staff today.

What’s Causing My Bunions?

Most often they are caused by a defective mechanical structure of the foot, which is genetic. Fun fact, if your parents or grandparents have bunions, you may be more prone to developing them. 

Poorly fitting footwear tends to aggravate the problem as tight or narrow footwear can squeeze the forefoot, crowding the toes together and worsen the underlying condition, causing pain and deformity of the joint.

Other Common Causes

Bunions can also be caused by the big toe pushing or crossing over onto the second toe, which makes it difficult to walk due to pressure from footwear. Once the big toe leans toward the second toe, the tendons no longer pull the toe in a straight line, so the problem tends to get progressively worse and can also lead to the development of painful corns and calluses. 

Bunions can also be caused by age, arthritis, or playing sports. Although anyone can get a bunion, they tend to be seen more commonly in women, possibly due to some of the more restrictive footwear women frequently wear (bunions occur in about 30 percent of the population of most Western countries).

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Are Bunions a Serious Issue?

Some people have large bunions that cause no pain but do cause difficulties with footwear, while others have relatively small bunions that can be very painful. Although some treatments can ease the pain of bunions, only surgery can correct the deformity.

When Should I See a Podiatrist?

If you experience any foot or ankle care issues that do not resolve themselves naturally or through routine care within three weeks, it is recommended that you seek the help of a foot and ankle specialist like the team here at Synergy Foot and Ankle. Led by Dr. Tran, our team has extensive experience with issues relating to the feet and ankles and can help you by crafting a treatment plan that will unite you with the relief you deserve. To discuss all of the available options regarding treatment, please contact our McKinney office to schedule an appointment with our highly skilled podiatric physician and surgeon.

A Surgical Solution

Once Dr. Tran has evaluated the extent of the deformity, he can remove the bunion and realign the toe joint in a common operation known as a first metatarsal osteotomy (“bunionectomy”). There are many different types of procedures that fall under this title, so each surgery is customized according to the individual patient and their desired outcome. The aim of this surgery is to address the underlying deformity and ultimately prevent a recurrence. As with all surgeries, there are risks and complications, so this treatment route is not usually advised unless your bunions have begun to cause you significant pain or are starting to deform your other toes.

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How Do I Prevent Bunions?

Wearing sensible shoes that fit well is a good preventative measure. If you notice a bump developing where your big toe joins the foot, it may be time to switch your footwear. Choose wider shoes that provide your toes with room to move and keep your heel height to four centimeters or less. The following also serves as a useful guide:

  • Wear backless, high-heeled shoes in moderation. Backless shoes force your toes to claw as you walk, straining the muscles if worn over a long period.  
  • Vary your heel heights from day to day, one day wearing low heels and the next day slightly higher heels.  
  • Wearing a shoe with a strap or lace over the instep holds the foot securely in place and helps to keep your foot from sliding forward.  
  • Calf stretches that counteract the shortening of the muscles can help to keep feet supple.
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How Will Dr. Tran Treat My Bunions?

As with most foot and ankle issues, we’ll start with a conservative treatment plan for your bunions. This will include modalities like exercises, orthotics (shoe inserts that are customized for your foot type and level of activity), and shoe alterations or splints that can hold the toes straight and slow the progression of bunions 

These are all conservative measures and, although they may help to relieve symptoms, might not be a permanent solution to the underlying problem. Dr. Tran is trained to identify significant deformities and may recommend surgical correction which can involve a combination of removing, realigning, and fixating the bone.

New York College of Podiatry Medicine
American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery Inc.
Medstar Georgetown University Hospital

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