All About Bunion Pain, Including How to Fix It!

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Are bunions painful?

If you’re one of the 5 million Americans suffering each year from painful bunions, you already know the correct reply. Heck yes. They can cause so much foot pain you don’t even want to walk to the refrigerator for a snack, much less take part in your daily activities.

But pain is subjective. On a scale of one to ten, a bunion could be at either end of the spectrum. It all depends on how long the bunion has been forming — and what you intend to do about it.

At the Bunion Institute, our doctors are aware that bunion deformities (also called hallux valgus) are the most common foot problems in the nation, second only to ankle sprains.

But here’s the problem: only about one-third of those with bunions seek help from a podiatrist or foot and ankle specialist. Bunions only get worse, and the gnarly big toe joint can lead to other conditions, such as a hammertoe.

Women experience the majority of bunions, mainly because of wearing ill-fitting shoes as well as high heels.

What does bunion pain feel like?

Bunions appear as inflamed bony bumps at the base of the big toe. At the beginning of their formation, there may be very little, if any, real pain. You may observe a little redness, plantar fasciitis, heel pain, a stiff big toe, or trouble walking in tight-fitting shoes.

Though simply annoying at the beginning of formation, they are often not painful at that point. But as bunions progress, the area becomes increasingly swollen, red, shiny, and tender to the touch.

Soon, you may develop a callus where the first and second toes rub together from being pushed by the bunion. At this point of bunion development, you may feel constant burning bunion pain, or discomfort may come and go. Often your walking aggravates the ligaments in the knee.

Take a close look at your life as the bunion becomes more pronounced and begins causing pain a great deal of the time. If you are unable to do activities that you normally enjoy because of discomfort, it may be time to take some sort of action.

Throbbing bunion pain at night

It’s bad enough that bunions can be extremely uncomfortable when walking or wearing shoes that fit too tight. On top of that, nerves being compressed by the bony growth often choose the nighttime to fire off, which causes soreness and throbbing.

Relieving bunion pain

If your swollen bunions are causing you considerable pain when you walk, your chances of getting relief from over-the-counter bunion pain relievers are slim at best.

However, there are several methods of non-surgical treatment you can try. These foot care options include:

  • Applying ice to the swollen area and keeping your foot propped up
  • Applying bunion pads to limit your foot rubbing on your shoe
  • Wearing wider shoes with custom orthotics
  • Stretching your foot
  • Cortisone injections
  • Physical therapy

One or all of these tactics may provide temporary pain relief. But, sadly, none of those methods do a darn thing about getting to the root of the problem.

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