As many as 25% of all Americans have bunions today. If you have serious chronic pain around your main big toe joint, a bunion’s probably the reason. At the office of highly skilled podiatrist William Hansen, DPM, in the Queens, New York, neighborhood of Flushing, you’ll find compassionate care in a relaxed and comfortable environment. Get quick treatment for your bunions by calling the office or clicking the provided scheduling link now.

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What are bunions?

Bunions are one of the most common foot deformities. A bunion is a significant bump on the side of your great (big) toe joint, the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint.

Bunions develop when the first metatarsal, the long bone at the bottom of your MTP joint, drifts out of place. This causes the bump of bone. In many cases, bunions also feature bony overgrowth on the first metatarsal head, making the bump even larger and stiffer.

The bone at the top of your MTP joint, the first proximal phalanx, moves in the other direction, often leading to your big toe overlapping the toe next to it.

What causes bunions?

It’s commonly assumed that bunions occur as a result of overly tight shoes. But, the true underlying cause of bunions is actually abnormal foot structure, abnormal foot mechanics, or a combination of those two things.

When you have abnormal foot structure, which is typically inherited, you can put excessive pressure on your first metatarsal. Over time, this causes the support tissues like ligaments to stretch out, allowing the bones to start gravitating out of position until the bunion forms.

You may also have abnormal foot mechanics that lead to bunions for other reasons, including flat feet.

What symptoms do bunions cause?

Bunions cause a few frustrating problems, including:

  • Pain
  • Skin irritation
  • Restricted movement
  • Calluses or corns

In some cases, bunions can also lead to other foot problems like hammertoe.

How do bunions cause hammertoe?

Hammertoe is a foot deformity in which a little toe grows stuck in a bent position. It tends to occur alongside bunions. Because bunions cause imbalances in the tendons that control your toes, hammertoe can frequently develop in the toe that neighbors your big toe.

How are bunions treated?

Dr. Hansen offers both conservative and surgical treatment for bunions. In most cases, treatment starts with symptom relief measures, such as:

  • Custom orthotics
  • Padding
  • Toe spacer
  • New shoes with a deeper toe box
  • Ice packs

Because a bunion represents permanent changes in your foot’s framework, the only permanent cure is surgery. Dr. Hansen may recommend surgery if conservative measures aren’t helping. He can perform a procedure to reposition your joint and the surrounding tissues as well.

If you have a bothersome bunion, find out how William Hansen, DPM, can help. Call the office or click the online scheduler now.