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Jan 5



A bunion is generally considered as an enlargement of the joint at the base and side of the big toe. Bunions form when the big toe bends towards the others causing the joint to become larger. The bunion can become painful, and in many cases arthritis and stiffness can eventually develop. Severe cases often need surgery to help relieve the pain associated with the bunion. However, there are other successful non-surgical options such as physiotherapy. We can’t straighten your bunion to look prettier at Waterford Chartered Physiotherapy clinic but we have lots of treatments which can help settle your pain and prevent the deformity from getting worse!

Bunions can develop for a variety of reasons – altered foot biomechanics, prolonged wearing of tight-fitting shoes such as high heels and direct trauma to the big toe itself. Addressing the cause of the problem such as wearing a wider shoe can certainly relieve some of the pain associated with a bunion. However, by the time most people present to physiotherapy the big toe joint has become much stiffer and more vigorous measures are required for symptom relief.

Manual Therapy

In many cases mobilization of the stiff big toe joint can help to increase movement and decrease pain associated with a bunion. Waterford Chartered Physiotherapy Clinic can teach you how to perform your own mobilizations of your big toe at home which can greatly help your symptoms.

Customized Orthotics

The vast majority of people who present to Waterford Chartered Physiotherapy Clinic with bunions will require a customized orthotic. The aim of the orthotic is to either facilitate more movement at the big toe if it is a bit stiff or block the big toe from moving completely for pain relief in more severe cases. These orthotics are made specifically for you taking into consideration the severity, size and location of your bunion. Although I am a great advocate of off-the-shelf insoles, problems in the forefoot such as bunions require a customized device.

As already mentioned some people will still go on to have surgery on their bunion. This can be for aesthetic reasons, pain relief or a combination of both. Many surgeons will still refer patients for physiotherapy following their bunion surgery as the stiff joint will still need some manual therapy and customized orthotics may still be required.