When it comes to bunions, podiatrists have a wide range of treatments available for their patients. This includes both conservative and surgical options to relieve pain and realign the big toe.
Nonsurgical Treatments: These include heat and ice therapies, over-the-counter pain relievers, silicone pads worn inside your shoes, and wearing special orthotics. These have not been shown to permanently fix the bunion, but they can reduce pain and help your foot function better.
In severe cases, your doctor may recommend surgery to correct the bunion and realign the bones of your foot. The procedure, called a bunionectomy, is often performed to treat a bunion that has been getting worse over time and is causing significant pain.
Bunion Treatment Without Surgery:
Your podiatrist will perform a thorough assessment to identify the contributing factors for your bunion and offer a course of conservative therapy to improve pain, flexibility, mobility and overall foot health. This may involve mobilisation of the big toe joint, custom orthotic therapy and advice on appropriate footwear that is suitable for your unique foot.
A common factor that contributes to the development of bunions is poor biomechanical function, primarily due to tightening of foot muscles, weaknesses in opposing muscles and alteration in the alignment of the feet over time. As podiatrists, we are well trained to gently mobilise the joints of the foot to improve joint efficiency and flexibility.
Regular exercise can strengthen the muscles of the foot and reduce stress on the foot joints. This can help prevent further bunions and other foot conditions.
Wearing the right shoes can also help to prevent the development of bunions. Avoid shoes with a narrow toe box or a high heel and make sure the shoe fits snugly around your foot.
Heat and ice therapies:
The application of heat and ice packs to the affected area can decrease inflammation and reduce swelling. Soaking your feet in warm water can also provide anti-inflammatory effects.
Using heat can also stimulate the blood flow to your feet and relax sore muscles and joints. If you have mild swelling, elevating your foot while applying ice can also help reduce it.
If conservative methods have failed and the bunion is causing you severe pain, your Adelaide podiatrist will likely recommend bunions Adelaide surgery. The goal of this procedure is to realign the big toe and remove any bone or soft tissue that is causing the bunion to form.
In some cases, bunion surgery can be performed using a minimally invasive technique known as keyhole bunion correction. This technique was developed in France and the UK and involves tiny incisions that allow Dr. Smith to re-align the foot bones through keyholes that are only 2-3mm long and can be done without any visible scarring.
There are some risks associated with bunion surgery including infection, blood clots and anaesthetic problems, however these are very rare. During your consultation, we will discuss these risks and any precautions that you should take before and after the procedure.