Considering how ugly bunions are, and how much pain and discomfort as they can cause, it’s shocking to see how many people choose to simply put up with them for so long. Maybe your mother and grandmother had bunions too, and this just seems “normal.” Maybe it’s a fear of going to the doctor. Or maybe it’s because bunion surgery is considered “elective,” giving the impression that it isn’t very important or doesn’t matter as much as other treatments.
However, we strongly encourage you to take your bunions seriously, even if they’re just beginning to form or you have a family history. There’s a very good reason, too: bunions are a progressive condition, but one that can also be prevented, or at least well managed, through proactive care.
By progressive, we mean that the condition does not get better on its own. A toe that has become misaligned will not return to its original position without surgery, and without treatment or preventative care the problem will only get worse, until the deformity and pain are severe.
But if you do take action early, seeking out a podiatrist without delay as soon as you notice a problem beginning to form, you can potentially halt the development of a bunion in its tracks. Your podiatrist will perform a full foot exam in order to determine the key underlying factors contributing to your bunion formation and prescribe the appropriate countermeasures. These might include, but are not limited to:
- Better shoe choices or other footwear modifications that support your feet and allow your toes plenty of wiggle space.
- Appropriate inserts or custom orthotics to redistribute weight and pressure away from trouble spots.
- Padding, taping, splinting, or other corrective tools that improve alignment and relieve stress on the bony bump.
We can’t stress the importance of seeking early treatment enough—by being proactive, you can save yourself a lot of pain and trouble in the long run. Potentially it could mean avoiding years or even decades of discomfort, without needing surgery.