Austin Podiatry Blog
Don’t let bunion pain determine how you live your life.
A bunion is a condition that affects the joint at the base of the big toe. Over time, the bunion will continue to grow, causing the big toe to lean inwards toward the rest of the toes. While this might not seem like a cause for concern, bunions can be painful and uncomfortable. Some people experience pain that’s so severe that it impacts their lives. If you’re currently battling bunion pain and looking for some relief, your Austin podiatrist recommends trying these handy tricks for beating your discomfort.
- Ice therapy: When you aren’t on your feet, make sure to elevate your foot and ice the painful joint for about 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Just be sure to wrap a cloth or towel around the ice so it’s not in direct contact with your skin.
- Medication: Most bunion pain can be reduced with over-the-counter NSAIDs like ibuprofen. Talk to your Austin podiatrist about the different OTC medications and which ones might help alleviate your discomfort.
- Orthotics and inserts: Opt for bunion pads or custom-made orthotics to help shift the weight while you walk and take pressure of your big toe. Talk to your Austin podiatrist about getting customized orthotics or about which types of inserts are right for you. Did you know that one study even found that orthotics did significantly reduce bunion pain in six months? If you notice that your shoes are rubbing against your bunion, you can also place moleskin between your joint and the shoes to reduce friction.
- Exercise: Exercise is a healthy lifestyle choice and you shouldn’t be made to live a sedentary life just because of your bunion. While endurance running might put too much pressure on your feet and leave you in pain, there are a variety of other exercises you can participate in that are low-impact and won’t hurt your bunions. We recommend activities such as cycling and swimming.
- Proper shoes: Finding the right shoes is vitally important for those dealing with bunions. Choose shoes with wide toe beds. Also, opt for flats or shoes with low heels that provide optimal arch support. Stay away from high heels or narrow shoes that can crowd toes. If you have a pair of shoes that don’t play nice with your bunion but you just can’t part with, consider taking them to the cobbler to have them stretched.
Don’t let bunions affect your day-to-day activities. Follow this advice from your Austin podiatrist and you’ll find your bunion pain is much easier to manage. If your bunion is causing you severe discomfort, call us today to schedule an appointment.
- Pain or soreness
- Inflammation and redness
- A burning sensation
- Possible numbness
- Changes in shoe wear
- Activity modification
- Orthotic devices
- Practice good hygiene and inspect feet and toes regularly
- Try not to injure your nail by cutting it too short, as trauma to the nail may lead to infection
- Wear moisture wicking socks
- Wear dry, proper-fitting shoes that allow air to circulate around your feet
- Wear shower sandals when you are at a public pool or shower
When there is increased stress on the arch, microscopic tears can occur within the plantar fascia, usually at its attachment on the heel. This results in inflammation and pain with standing and walking and sometimes at rest. It usually causes pain and stiffness on the bottom of your heel.
An enlargement on the side of the foot near the base of the big toe (hallux). The enlargement is made up of a bursa (fluid filled sac) under the skin. The term bunion is also commonly used to describe a structural (bony) deformity called hallux abducto valgus (HAV). Bunions can be painful and can be aggravated by activity and wearing tight shoes.
In the foot, a neuroma is a nerve that becomes irritated and swells up. If the nerve stays irritated, it can become thickened which makes the nerve larger and causes more irritation. Pain from a neuroma is usually felt on the ball of your foot.
Corns & Callouses
Corns and callouses are areas of thick, hard skin. They usually develop due to rubbing or irritation over a boney prominence. The hard, thick skin is called a corn if it is on your toe and it is called a callous if it is somewhere else on your foot.
Toenail Fungus (onychomycosis)
Fungi like a warm, moist and dark environment (like inside a shoe). A fungal infection in your toenails may cause the nails to become discolored, thickened, crumbly or loose. There are different causes and it is difficult to treat due to the hardness of the toenail.
Ingrown Toenail (onychocryptosis)
An ingrown toenail can occur for various reasons. The sides or corners of the toenail usually curve down and put pressure on the skin. Sometimes the toenail pierces the skin and then continues to grow into the skin. This may cause redness, swelling, pain and sometimes infection.
A hammer toe is also sometimes referred to as a claw toe or mallet toe. It involves a deformity of the toe where there is an imbalance in the pull of the tendons. Either the tendon on top of the toe pulls harder or the tendon on the bottom of the toe pulls harder. This results in a curling up of the toe.
Plantar Warts (plantar verucca)
Plantar warts are caused by a virus. Plantar means bottom of the foot, but warts can occur other places on the foot and toes as well. Plantar warts can be painful depending on where they are located. Sometimes they are mistaken for callouses because layers of hard skin can build up on top of the wart.
Flat Feet (pes planus)
Just because you have flat feet does not mean you will have problems or pain. If you do have pain, there are various treatment options available. If you only have one foot that has a flat arch, it may be due to another problem and you should get it checked out.
Athlete's Foot (tinea pedis)
Athlete's foot is a common skin condition that can affect everyone, not just athletes. It is caused by a fungus. It may cause redness, itchiness, tiny bumps filled with fluid or peeling skin. It is most commonly located between the toes or on the bottom of the feet.
Achilles tendonitis involves inflammation of the Achilles tendon. If the tendon stays inflamed long enough, it can lead to thickening of the tendon. Sometimes nodules or bumps can form in the tendon. Achilles tendonitis can become a long term problem or can lead to rupture of the tendon.
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