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4 Subtle Signs of a Growing Bunion

If you have a bunion protruding from the side of your big toe, it can start as small and unintrusive. With time, though, bunions can get bigger and cause more problems.

Board-certified podiatrist Thomas Rambacher, DPM, FACFAS, FAPWCA, of Podiatry Hotline Foot & Ankle in Mission Viejo, California, always recommends monitoring your bunions to ensure they aren’t growing larger. Find out four signs of a growing bunion and what you can do if they get worse.

Monitoring your bunions

When bunions develop on the side of one or both of your big toes, it’s common for them to initially be quite small. Bunions often get larger, and they tend to grow bigger slowly over a long period.

It’s not always possible to easily see your bunions getting bigger until it’s too late. Fortunately, there are other ways to tell if your bunion is getting larger.

How to detect a growing bunion

Along with monitoring the size of a bunion, the following four signs can indicate your bunion is growing in size.

1. Your shoes fit differently

One of the biggest challenges of a larger bunion is how they make your shoes fit. As your bunions grow larger, you’ll need shoes that are increasingly wide in the toe box for a comfortable fit.

If you notice your shoes are feeling tighter, especially near the front of the foot, that can be a sign your bunions are getting bigger. In addition, noticing even small changes to how you walk, with or without shoes, can also indicate bunion enlargement.

2. You’re experiencing swelling around your foot

The irritation bunions cause makes your foot swell. When your bunion appears to be swollen and/or red, that can mean it’s getting larger and irritated.

You could also experience swelling around the front of your foot, such as on your big toe or the ball of your foot.

3. You’ve developed corns or calluses

Bunions change how your feet move and strike the ground, putting pressure on different places. Over time, this can cause you to develop corns or calluses on the sides or bottoms of your feet.

If you’re developing new corns or calluses, or your existing ones are enlarging, that can signal your bunion is getting bigger.

4. Your range of motion has changed

Your range of motion is likely to reduce as your bunions get bigger. It can be harder for you to move your big toe up and down.

If your big toe also has trouble moving from side to side, that can mean your bunion is significantly enlarging. As your bunion gets bigger, your toes can start to become permanently slanted to the side and misaligned.

What to do if your bunion is getting larger

If you’re experiencing any of the signs your bunion is growing or your bunion is painful, make an appointment for an evaluation at Podiatry Hotline Foot & Ankle. Dr. Rambacher determines the current size of your bunion and the best treatment plan.

For bunions that are still smaller in size, conservative treatment can halt the growth of the bunion and relieve any discomfort. Over-the-counter painkillers, careful choice of shoes, and soaking and massaging your feet all help with swelling and pain while preventing further growth.

If your bunion is already enlarged or has caused your foot to misalign, Dr. Rambacher recommends the most minimally invasive surgery available to shave it off and reposition your other toes.

If you have a bunion, monitoring it through self-assessment and regular podiatry appointments helps keep growth in check and prevent further complications. Contact us to make an appointment to check your bunions.

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