Our Services / Bunions

Bunions Specialist

Podiatrist & Foot & Ankle Surgery in Mill Creek, WA

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Bunions services offered in Mill Creek, WA

Bunions are lumps that develop at the inside of your foot, usually the bottom of the big toe. If you have a painful bunion, experienced podiatrist Nathan Hansen, DPM, of Hansen Foot & Ankle in Mill Creek, Washington, can help. Dr. Hansen offers effective nonsurgical solutions for bunion pain and advanced surgery to realign your bones. Call Hansen Foot & Ankle today or book an appointment online to find out what treatment you need for your bunions.

Bunions Q & A

What is a bunion?

A bunion is a painful, bony swelling that forms on the primary joint of your big toe. Bunions can be very painful because of the weight of your body pushing down on your foot every time you take a step. Everyday activities like walking and wearing shoes can cause extreme discomfort if you have a large bunion.

A bunion starts as a bony bump at the base of your big toe that gradually gets bigger. You begin to develop swelling and redness, and the area is likely to be tender. The skin over your bunion usually looks stretched and shiny.

As bunions get bigger, they become increasingly painful. They press into the sides of your shoes, rubbing against them. This increases the inflammation, making the bunion even more tender and sore.

You can develop other foot problems like bursitis (inflammation in the protective sacs in the joint), hammertoe, and arthritis. The skin on the sole of your foot can thicken, developing a callus. Without treatment, bunions often become long-term, disabling conditions.

What causes a bunion?

Although bunions look like growths, they aren’t. A bunion forms when the top of your toe points inward, causing the bone at the bottom to push outward. Several things can cause bunions or make them worse, including:

  • Family history of bunions
  • Complications from arthritis
  • Weak foot structure
  • Foot injuries
  • Neuromuscular problems
  • Flat feet
  • Effects of aging

Wearing tight shoes or shoes with pointed toes or high heels force the big toe into an unnatural position, increasing your likelihood of developing bunions.

How are bunions treated?

Dr. Hansen uses conservative treatments to relieve pressure and pain. These can include:

  • Heat and ice
  • Protective padding
  • Corn and callus removal
  • Wearing wide-fitting shoes
  • Over-the-counter shoe inserts
  • Custom-fitted orthotics (shoe inserts)
  • Physical therapy
  • Nighttime splints

For many patients, these treatments effectively relieve pain and inflammation. They also stop the bunion from growing. This is especially true of patients with new or small bunions. However, a more prominent bunion or one that doesn’t respond to these treatments could require surgery.

What does surgery for bunions involve?

Several bunion surgery approaches include removing inflamed tissue and part of the bone to straighten the toe. A more drastic approach is a bunionectomy.

Dr. Hansen straightens the toe bones, which might involve breaking and repositioning them. He also tightens loose ligaments and loosens tight ones to support the newly aligned toe. In some cases, Dr. Hansen fuses the bones so they can’t move out of position.

If you have a bunion, get expert help as soon as possible. Call Hansen Foot & Ankle today or book an appointment online.