It doesn’t matter if you’re a runner, biker, skier, ballerina or fencer – bunions know no boundaries. As an athlete you devote months of training and competing to your sport in many different kinds of conditions. You probably don’t want to miss a training day or a chance to compete, so if you have a bunion, you want to get rid of it immediately.
The New York podiatrists at Adler Footcare can help you find ways to deal with a bunion. For athletes, if the timing is right, there is an alternative to bunion surgery called HyProCure® that's the best option because it offers significantly reduced recovery time.
How do athletes get bunions?
A bunion is a deformity on the big toe which causes the bone to push outward. The primary cause of bunions is heredity, but improper footwear and excessive wear and tear can also increase the effect of the bunion.
Bunions can be extremely painful, especially for an athlete who is constantly putting force and pressure on their feet for extended periods of time training each day. Bunions don’t typically just go away on their own. They usually continue to worsen overtime. When the bunion becomes too painful to train with, it's time to consider your treatment options.
Is bunion surgery the way to go?
Devoted athletes don’t like to give up their time because they’ll be missing out on valuable training opportunities or important competitions. Minimally invasive bunion surgery results in significantly reduced recovery times, but it isn't the only way to correct the deformity.
Before considering a patient for bunion surgery, the New York podiatrists at Adler Footcare will evaluate you for a procedure called HyProCure® that corrects misaligned feet. You can learn more about misaligned feet here, but basically they are caused by an excessive inward rotation of the ankle (also known as overpronation).
As the bones in the back of the foot – the subtalar joint just below the ankle joint – dislocate forward and to the side, additional pressure is added to the outside of the big toe, increasing the bone growth that leads to the formation of the bunion. Once the subtalar joint is put back into alignment, most bunions get better.
This is what HyProCure® is able to do by placing a small titanium stent into the naturally occurring space between the ankle bone and heel bone, correcting the excessive inward rotation.
This is a great option for athletes because after the procedure you'll leave the office in a walking boot and be back walking in your own shoes within 3 to 5 days. While no running or jumping is recommended for 4 to 6 weeks to allow the stent to settle into place, it's a significantly reduced recovery time than other foot surgeries.
Are there other treatment options?
There are other conservative options to help manage the pain and make an athlete as comfortable as possible when dealing with a bunion. These include:
- Proper shoes – this can make a world of difference for an athlete because they are on their feet so much. Shoes should fit so that the side of the foot doesn’t rub excessively against the inside of the shoe. Toes shouldn’t be squished and there should be plenty of cushioning and support.
- Orthotics – these are shoe inserts that help control the movement of your feet. Adler Footcare can fit any athlete with custom orthotics made to fit your foot and your foot only.
- Physical Therapy & Anti-Inflammatories – These can help mask the pain for a little awhile, but only offer temporary relief.