At MedStar Orthopaedic Institute, our experienced orthopedic surgeons perform thousands of advanced surgeries each year, including bunionectomy surgery. We pride ourselves on offering the least invasive surgical options to allow you to recover quickly from surgery and return to your regular life faster. Our surgeons take the time to thoroughly explain your unique condition and walk you through your treatment from beginning to end. Our specialists will always encourage non-surgical options when possible and recommend surgical options only when necessary.
What is a bunion?
A bunion, also known as hallux valgus, refers to a common toe condition that is usually caused by wearing excessively tight shoes. The condition is characterized by a bony, inflamed bump that forms along the big toe. While this lump is the most noticeable symptom of a bunion, the condition is a result of a shift in the bony framework in the front of a person’s foot. It can involve one or more of the bones moving out of alignment and tends to worsen over time. Sometimes, a bunion causes only minor discomfort. In other cases, it can be incredibly painful and require surgery by an orthopedic specialist.
What causes a bunion?
Bunions are the result of the big toe repeatedly pushing against the neighboring toe, which causes bone instability in the front part of the foot. Over time, this causes the base of the toe joint to push outward and swell, forming the bony lump that typically characterizes a bunion. Bunions are common and are typically triggered by one of the following:
- Wearing excessively tight shoes, especially high heels
- Foot arthritis
What are the symptoms of a bunion?
If you are suffering from any of the signs of a bunion listed below, it is important to visit an orthopedic specialist at MedStar Orthopaedic Institute:
- Pain in the outer base of the big toe
- A noticeable bump along the big toe joint
- Redness around the big toe
- Burning sensation on the side of the big toe
- Inability to move the big toe
- Swelling in the big toe
- Big toe pain that worsens over time
- Big toe pain that worsens with tight shoes or high heels
How are bunions diagnosed?
Our team of physicians at MedStar Orthopaedic Institute are experts at diagnosing a wide range of foot and ankle problems. An initial exam for bunion diagnosis generally includes:
- Medical history evaluation – Our physicians will speak with you about past relevant medical issues and ask you questions about when your bunion symptoms began.
- Physical exam – This may include asking questions about your pain level and examining the affected area.
- Imaging tests – If necessary, our physicians may use diagnostic imaging to look more closely at the affected area and to make an accurate diagnosis.
What are the best bunion treatment options?
If you are experiencing signs of a bunion, visit one of our orthopedic specialists at MedStar Orthopaedic Institute. One of our skilled doctors will thoroughly review your symptoms, medical history, and any needed diagnostic testing. When symptoms are mild, your doctor may recommend one of the following conservative options for bunion treatment without surgery:
- Ice to decrease swelling and pain
- Alternative footwear to lessen the progression of a bunion
- Bunion orthotics to relieve pressure on the big toe
- Protective padding or tape to reduce pressure
- Anti-inflammatory medications to reduce swelling
At MedStar Orthopaedic Institute, we also offer comprehensive bunion surgery, known as a bunionectomy or bunion foot surgery. During bunion foot surgery, the bunion is removed and the muscles and bones surrounding the big toe are repaired. This treatment option is usually recommended after conservative approaches are unsuccessful or when pain is severe.
If you believe you may be suffering from a bunion, call 202-295-0511 to schedule a consultation with one of our orthopedic specialists at MedStar Orthopaedic Institute. Our doctors have years of experience diagnosing and treating foot and ankle conditions and are pleased to offer comprehensive bunion care in the Washington, D.C. area.