Bunions are painful lumps that form at the base of the big toe joint, and if you have one, you know how even simple daily activities can trigger painful bunion symptoms. Even if you don’t have bunions now, you may have them in the future — bunions tend to happen more often as we age. They’re also more common among women, likely due to anatomical differences and restrictive shoe styles, like high heels.
Bunions can be treated, with the type of treatment depending in part on the bunion’s severity. That leaves many people wondering if their painful bunions might heal alone.
Located in Midtown Manhattan and Staten Island, New York, Forward Foot & Ankle helps patients find the best solution for their bunion pain, with bunion treatment options ranging from conservative “DIY” therapies to state-of-the-art surgery. If you’re wondering if your bunion will go away independently, here’s what our team wants you to know.
A bunion is a deformity of the big toe joint that happens when the top part of the toe bone leans in toward the center of the foot. As the upper part of the toe is pushed inward, the base of the bone begins to slant outward toward the side of your foot. It’s the end of this bone that forms the lump or bump that’s characteristic of bunions.
Bunions happen for different reasons. Some people are more prone to bunions because of an inherited foot shape or gait pattern. Others develop bunions following an injury or as a “side effect” of another medical condition, like rheumatoid arthritis. Years of wearing shoes with tight, restrictive toe boxes or high heels that force the toes into a tight space can exacerbate and worsen bunions.
Very mild bunions may not cause any symptoms, especially if you wear shoes with more room in the toe area. But bunions tend to be progressive, which means that even if you don’t have symptoms now, without proper medical treatment, you’re likely to have them in the future.
In addition to pain, bunions can trigger callus or corn formation, where the bunion rubs against the inside of a shoe. Finding shoes that fit comfortably can be difficult as the bunion progresses, and even simple activities can cause pain.
If you’re wondering if your bunion will go away independently, the answer is no — bunions require prompt treatment to prevent them from worsening. Fortunately, our team offers different options to help patients find the optimal solution for their bunion symptoms.
For mild bunions where the toe joint is still flexible, gentle massage and stretching exercises may help restore the joint to its normal position. Choosing shoes with lots of room on the toes is also essential. Splints worn at night can also be helpful, as can custom orthotics that support the big toe and surrounding structures.
Very severe may benefit from custom orthotics, too. But in many cases, advanced bunions that cause chronic pain must be treated surgically. Our team uses special techniques to reposition the big toe joint and stabilize it to prevent it from moving out of alignment in the future.
After surgery, you’ll have physical therapy to strengthen the toe area and help maintain its flexibility. Using custom orthotics after surgery can also help you regain normal mobility while relieving painful bunion symptoms.
With or without pain, bunions must be treated to prevent them from worsening. To learn more about our bunion treatment options, call 718-317-5215 or book an appointment online with the team at Forward Foot & Ankle today.