Bunion Treatments BEFORE Surgery
If you have a bunion, there’s a good chance you’ve been dreading the very real possibility that, sooner or later, you’ll end up needing to put your foot on a surgical table. You may have even resigned yourself to that fate—and as a result, you might be dragging your feet (metaphorically speaking) when it comes to seeing a podiatrist about your bunion.
But here’s something you should know: waiting until your bunion is large and extremely painful is the last thing you want to do.
We consider surgery to be a last resort for bunions, and the truth is that there’s often quite a lot you can do to ease your bunion pain—and even slow its progression—well before surgery enters the picture. You may even be able to delay the need for surgery indefinitely!
And the earlier you start to pursue these non-surgical alternatives, the more likely they are to help you.
What Are My Bunion Treatment Options Before Surgery?
Your first step is to come see us for an appointment. The sooner the better.
Dr. Elenburg and Dr. Knight will carefully examine your bunion, as well as talk to you about your symptoms and your lifestyle. Are you experiencing pain? How much? Is it worse with certain shoes, certain activities, etc.?
Based on the evaluation and discussion, one or more conservative treatment options may be recommended. This can include:
- Bunion padding. Often, the source of the pain isn’t necessarily the bunion itself, but the pressure and friction created between the bunion and the inside of your shoe. This can lead to uncomfortable corns and blisters. Wearing bunion pads can help protect your skin and alleviate the discomfort.
- Wider shoes. If your bunion is still relatively minor, you may simply need to pick up a new pair of off-the-shelf shoes with greater width in the ball-of-foot area in order to reduce the painful pressure. We are happy to recommend some good footwear options to you, and we even supply coupons to area shoe stores that are likely to have what you need.
- Specialty footwear. In some cases, you may be better off with shoes made specifically for people with bunions or related deformities. Although they may look like regular shoes on the outside, they are designed with features especially beneficial for people with bunions. This often includes things like stretchable fabrics, non-binding construction, extra width and depth in the toe box, and extra padding at the front of the shoe.
- Orthotics or arch supports. In many cases, bunions are linked with a fundamental issue with the structure of your feet. Wearing an appropriate set of orthotics or arch supports can not only offload pressure from painful areas, but may be able to slow the bunion’s rate of progression, too.
Our Philosophy About Bunion Care
Although Dr. Elenburg and Dr. Knight are experts in performing advanced bunion surgery, we really do consider it a last resort. Our goal is to get you back to your daily activities without pain, and to do so using the simplest, least invasive, least disruptive procedures applicable to your situation.
We know that most of our patients want to avoid surgery, and we’re happy to provide them with alternatives if we can. While specialty shoes or other conservative treatments cannot correct a bunion, if they can take away your pain and allow you to do all the things you need and want to do with your life, we consider that to be a highly successful treatment.
Yes, sometimes surgery truly is required—and in our next blog post, we’ll talk in much more detail about what those surgical options may look like for you. Even when you experience some initial success with non-surgical treatment methods, it’s still very possible that the bunion will continue to gradually worsen, to the point where surgery will have to be considered.
But the good news is that surgery—especially thanks to the new Lapiplasty procedure—has a very high long-term success rate and can provide a more permanent solution to your bunion problem when nothing else seems to work.
Either way, we’ll be with you every step of the process, from initial diagnosis to treatment and beyond. We can prescribe non-surgical treatments first, evaluate the results, and help you determine if and when you might need to move onto the next phase—whether that’s 6 months, 5 years, or 10 years down the line.
And, not to sound like a broken record, but it’s worth repeating: the sooner you see us, the better chance you have at non-surgical treatments working better and lasting longer. You don’t have to wait until your bunion is too large and too painful to navigate your day-to-day life. The best time to see us is always right now!
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