If your toes or feet are in constant pain, or your toes are pointing in strange directions, you’re probably suffering from hammertoes and bunions! And you’re not alone - these painful foot conditions affect up to 25% of adults. Today, Dr. Hubert Lee at CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists in Bellevue, WA, explains the difference between the two conditions.
Bunions are a misalignment of the largest toe joint, while hammertoes are contractions of the smaller toes that cause them to curl down. Both conditions can be painful, make it difficult to fit into regular shoes. In many cases, this makes walking difficult due to pain and creates balance problems.
Bunions can be caused by several reasons including:
- Foot structure
- An imbalance in foot muscles
- Narrow shoes
Bunions develop when there is increased pressure on the first metatarsal bone, causing misalignment, which eventually creates a noticeable bump.
This misalignment causes the largest toe joint to break down, resulting in pain, and in some cases, arthritis. The most effective way to prevent or slow the development of bunions is by using custom orthotics, which takes some of the pressure off.
Hammertoes are contractions of the toes that cause them to curl down, resulting in pain in the associated joints and pressure across the tip and top of the toes. Hammertoes are typically the result of disproportionate muscles in the foot in which some pull more than others. This condition is also improved by custom orthotics, which redistribute weight and muscle application more evenly across the foot.
Often downplayed, both bunions and hammertoes are painful and potentially incapacitating conditions. The primary treatment method for both is custom orthotics, which equalizes pressure and stabilizes balance across the feet.
Other options for pain relief in foot joints include PRP, laser treatments, or cortisone injections. If non-surgical options are not successful, a procedure in which the toe bones are re-aligned may be suggested.
If hammertoes and bunions are affecting your daily activities or not permitting you to fit into your shoes comfortably, contact Dr. Hubert Lee at CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists in Bellevue, WA, to schedule a checkup. You can schedule an appointment online or by calling us at 425-455-0936.