TMH Living Well: Suffering from a bony bump on your foot? Could be a bunion
Your feet are literally the foundation of your body, carrying you through your days. They rarely get a break until you lay down at night. When they are irritated or hurt you feel it, and it can become hard to stand, walk or be active the way you’d like.
Because we rely on them so heavily, feet can have a myriad of problems like Athlete’s Foot, toenail fungus, hammertoes, corns, calluses, and ball, heel or arch pain. Feet are also affected by injury and disease, including arthritis and diabetes. One common foot problem is bunions.
Bunions are bony bumps that form on the outside area of your big toe. The bump forms on the joint that sits directly below your toe in reaction to continual pressure caused by a variety of reasons, including how you position your feet when walking, a structural defect, a medical condition or injury, or simply tight, narrow shoes.
“In my experience, a good share of bunions are formed due to the way your foot functions. If you overpronate or have a bit of an unstable walk, your muscles overwork and cause the deformity,” said Dr. Derek Harper, podiatrist with The Memorial Hospital.
Symptoms include noticing a bulge or bump on the outside of your foot below your big toe, feeling soreness or swelling in the joint of your big toe, experiencing corns or calluses that develop between the first and second toe, pain, and having restricted movement.
“If symptoms are not too severe my first approach is suggesting wider, more comfortable shoes and fitting orthotics. If pain persists and interferes with your daily life, then surgery is likely needed to bring relief,” Harper said.
Believe it or not, there are more than 100 different surgical procedures to treat bunions. The goal is to correct alignment and reinstate the bone into the correct position. Usually, surgery is on an outpatient basis, lasting only a few hours.
Bunion surgery is often successful, but it does demand taking good care of your feet afterwards. Avoiding high heels and narrow shoes for several months is recommended.
Dr. Harper recently joined The Memorial Hospital and is the sole podiatrist in the region. Podiatrists are specialists that treat all types of foot and ankle problems from annoyances such as bunions, spurs, hammertoes and nail fungus to more advanced problems including diabetic foot problems and arthritis. Podiatrists also perform simple and complex surgeries of the foot and ankle. Harper holds an accreditation in reconstructive surgery and even performs ankle replacements.
“Bringing podiatry to Craig seems like a great way to meet patients’ needs and help the whole community. I’m excited to be a part of it,” he said.
Harper sees patients at both TMH Medical Clinic and The Steamboat Specialty Clinic and resides in Craig. For an appointment, call 970-826-2465.
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