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I remember being a kid and seeing my mom’s feet especially in the summer.  She had this bump on the inside area of her big toe.  She always said, “I hope you don’t have my feet when you grow up!”  I always wondered why her bone stuck out like that. These “bumps” are called bunions. 

What is a bunion?

A bunion is a foot deformity that occurs when the big toe bone shifts out of place.  Your big toe begins to move inward towards the smaller toes, and as this occurs the bottom part of the big toe shifts outwards to form that “bump.”  How does this happen?  Sometimes it happens because of tight fitting shoes that are worn for a long time that has a narrow toe box.  It can also occur because of other medical conditions such as arthritis and good ‘ole genetics!

What are some of the signs and symptoms of a bunion?

  • An enlarging bump on the outside of your big or small toe
  • Redness, swelling, and/or soreness on the outside of the foot where the bump is located
  • Pain that comes and goes
  • Decreased range of motion of the big toe

What can you do? 

There are a few things you can do to help relieve the pain you may begin to feel because of the bunion.  

  • Change your footwear
  • Orthotics can be put into your shoes
  • A toe spacer can be purchased to be placed in between the big toe and second to so that the big toe is more in alignment
  • Physical therapy!

Physical therapy is a great conservative treatment that can help decrease the pain of your bunion.  We can help improve the mobility of your big toe, assess your footwear needs, as well as give you exercises to strengthen the muscles in the foot and ankle to help support the big toe joint. We can even help decrease your swelling and pain using manual therapy. Once you start having pain it is important to take care of the foot.  More pressure through that joint will cause the fat pads under your big toe to wither away.  When that happens there will be more pain and more likely a progression of arthritis. When this happens surgery is usually the only way to solve the problem.  Avoid surgery and come to physical therapy so we can help you get back to those activities you love to do without pain!

By Devin Wurman, DPT

Call LSTC today at 703-450-4300 for a detailed evaluation and get back to doing what you love!

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