Of all the parts of the foot, the big toe gets a lot of attention, in part because it does most of the work to support you and help you walk. It is also the location of bunions, which are among the most common sources of foot pain. A bunion is a misalignment of the bone at the base of the big toe. It can be caused by arthritis, genetics or an injury and may be positional (mild), structural (severe) or a combination of both types. High heels or poorly fitted shoes can lead to their development. No matter what the cause, an untreated bunion can cause a lot of pain because your body depends on the big toe and ball of the foot with every step.
In order to treat a bunion, Dr. Smith will do a thorough exam, including an X-ray to see the joint position. He will examine your foot to see how well the joint moves and whether the foot is affected in other ways. If the bunion hurts just a little, Dr. Smith may prescribe an orthotic shoe insert or recommend different shoes. If your bunion is severe and causing a lot of pain, surgery of the soft tissue and bone may be necessary to correct the joint.
If your big toe points toward the smaller toes and overlaps the other toes, or if it’s hard to fit into shoes because your foot is misshapen, call Dr. Smith’s office for an evaluation. The ball of your foot is too important to ignore.