Painful Bunions in Happy Valley

What is a bunion?

A bunion is created when your big toe begins to shift inward, toward your 2nd toe, causing strain at the big toe joint. This process is usually slow and may not produce symptoms until the situation is more advanced. The unusual angle created at the big toe joint leads to unwanted strain on the joint itself but also causes undesirable friction to the side of the joint from contact with your shoe. If untreated, it will eventually lead to progressive arthritic changes in the joint.

Why did I get a bunion?

There is debate that there may be a genetic predisposition for bunions, but it is commonly acknowledged that your shoes are a significant contributor to formation of bunions. If your shoes are too narrow in the toe box it can cause crowding. It has also been speculated that having a moderate to large amount of pronation in your gait could also influence formation of a bunion. All of these instances contribute to an inward, or valgus, pressure that over time could lead to a bunion. In any case, these typically develop over a prolonged timeframe and are not overnight surprises.

Why should I get it treated?

Because the bunion alters the angle of your big toe joint it may cause restriction of your range of motion. Being able to bend your big toe backward (toward your head) is important for the mechanics of your foot and ankle during walking and running. If motion is limited it can place excess strain on the plantar fascia leading to plantar fasciitis or painful grinding of the big toe joint itself. The altered mechanics may also contribute to unnatural loading of other tissues around the forefoot and/or midfoot leading to blisters and calluses. If you’re not sure if your gait is altered you can check the wear pattern on the your shoes and/or inspect your feet for any unusual or asymmetric calluses and blisters.

Ok, so what should I do?

  • Again, one of the most common and easily modified treatments involves wearing shoes with a wider toe box. You should be able to go to a shoe store and ask a sales associate to see shoes with a wider toe box or look for a retailer that specializes in wider shoes such as Jay’s Wide Shoes in the Clackamas Promenade near Target.
  • We can help you at Ascent Physical Therapy with targeted: stretches, joint mobilizations, strengthening of foot intrinsics, and orthotic devices, such as, toe spacers.
  • If your bunion is quite advanced and our plan of care together doesn’t meet our expectations then a more invasive approach could be warranted and we’d be glad to assist you in contacting a trusted Doctor of Podiatry to take over your care.

If a bunion(s) has been interfering with your life, call us today to get started on a plan of care that works for you. Ascent Physical Therapy is conveniently located off Sunnyside Road in Happy Valley. We also love treating our neighboring communities of Damascus, Gresham, Clackamas, and Sandy at our top rated physical therapy clinic!