Who Should I Trust My Bunions To ?

Doctor examining toe with a magnifying glass

Who Should I Trust My Bunions To ?

Let’s start at the beginning. The bunion beginning. 

Bunions are hereditary in the sense that you inherit the foot type that predisposes you to get bunions.  How does your foot type predispose you to bunions ?

People who get bunions have either:
(1) an unstable big toe joint that buckles under the pressure of walking 
(2) an unstable rear foot (heel bone) that collapses in with every heel strike (this in turn causes a very strong force pushing up on the big toe joint and blocking normal motion)
(3) a “too short” or a “too long” first metatarsal bone which makes the joint unstable and moves it into a deformed position

Sometimes, people who do not have a foot type that predisposes them to getting bunions, (i.e. they can’t blame their parents) will get bunions.

How’s that ???

(1) By wearing high heel shoes consistently over time (the big toe joint is constantly in a “jammed up” position – kind of like walking around in the “downward dog” yoga position). Ouch !
(2) By injuring the joint somehow (usually in sporting activities or from a fall or traumatic injury) which can destabilize the ligaments around the joint and make it more apt to dislocate.

The question remains: Who should I trust my bunions to ?

I would trust my bunions (if I had them) to a medical person who understands the source of the problem; so then, the treatment plan will revolve around dealing with the source of the problem. Podiatrists (foot doctors) are your best bet. Your G.P. may refer you to an orthopaedic surgeon. Obviously, also a good choice. The benefit of podiatrists is that we’re also experts in the non-surgical approaches.

Your local podiatrist will probably suggest x-rays to monitor the starting point and then go over all the non-surgical options  – orthotics, shoe change, activity modification, weight loss.

Some podiatrists are highly surgically trained and have surgically fixed hundreds if not thousands of bunions. We don’t all do bunion surgery, but we all can assess whether bunion surgery is indicated. We also read your x-rays, not just the x-ray report.
You need accurate and detailed information to choose your treatment options. See your local podiatrist. 

For all you bunion people, don’t miss my last blog, also about bunions called,
Bunions – Must Knows and Do’s Before Surgical Correction

In next week’s blog I will explain how and why some bunion splints can make your bunions wors