Research on foot ailments and podiatry problems indicate that women are four times more likely than men to experience foot pain. This pain can cause substantial problems, because the average person takes up to 10,000 steps a day.
Not surprisingly, women who wear high-heeled shoes and uncomfortable footwear see the most significant foot pains. This is due to the lack of support and the constant pressure placed on the toes. When pressure from high-impact exercise stresses the feet as well, then a chronic pain condition will form. In some cases, the discomfort is also noted with large formations on the sides of the toes. These formations are called bunions, and early treatment with the assistance of a foot doctor is vital in controlling both the pain and the severity of the toe lumps.
What Are Bunions?
Bunions are bony growths that appear just outside the joints of the toes. Generally, bunions are seen on the lower joints of the big toes. The bunions contain built up fluid, hardened tissues, damaged cartilage, and inflamed ligaments. The bunions appear as the toes are forced together in tight-fitting shoes for long periods of time. The pressure places enough stress on the toes that they bend inward at an angle. The angling of the toes forces the joints to shift outward in a painful and damaging manner. The protruding bunions then rub against the sides of the shoes to produce corns, blisters, or sores.
How Does a Foot Doctor Identify Bunions?
When a patient searches for foot pain relief for bunions, a foot doctor examines the toes and asks about footwear choices. Also, the patient is asked to communicate their family history in terms of foot conditions. Generally, women who have sisters, mothers, and other female family members with bunions are likely to form the growths themselves. The podiatrist then arranges for x-ray imagery and sometimes CT scans of the feet. X-rays show joint damage and toe bone angling, while CT scans show fluid and tissue damage within the bunions.
How Are Bunions Treated?
The best podiatrist considers bunion severity when offering foot treatments. Bunions that are smaller, with little permanent joint damage, are conservatively treated. The foot doctor asks the patient to wear podiatrist shoes or wide sneakers to relieve toe pressure. Flexible and supportive footwear is best, and often times orthotics are created to support the feet and absorb stress. When bunions are large, with pronounced amounts of scar tissue, surgery can be performed. Surgical bunion removal allows the podiatrist to remove fluid, hard tissues, and damaged cartilage from the toe joints. To support the joint in the toe, pins, wires, and screws are used. Typically, bunion surgery can be performed with local anesthetics.