James W. Ratcliff, DPM
Podiatrist & Foot and Ankle Surgeon located in Los Gatos, CA
If your big toe is working its way toward your second toe and a large bony protrusion is developing at your joint, you’re likely dealing with a bunion. Bunions are progressive, so early intervention with James W. Ratcliff, DPM, is key. At his Los Gatos, California, office, Dr. Ratcliff helps his patients slow the progression of bunions or eliminate them entirely through surgery. To learn more, call or book using the online form to set up an appointment.
What is a bunion?
A bunion, which is medically known as hallux valgus, is a bony protrusion that develops on the inside of your foot at the base of your big toe. While the bump is the first thing to develop, over time your big toe may increasingly angle toward your second toe, to the point where it goes over or under the smaller toe.
While not dangerous, bunions can make your life fairly miserable as the bump becomes more pronounced, rendering it more vulnerable to pain and swelling as it encounters resistance. In fact, bunion pain can be quite severe, making even the slightest pressure intolerable.
What causes bunions?
There are many reasons why you develop bunions, chief among them:
- Shoes that crowd your toes
- Congenital structural problems
- Injury to your foot
No matter what’s behind your bunion, there are ways that Dr. Ratcliff can reduce its impact on your life. And, since bunions are progressive, the sooner you get in to see him, the better.
How are bunions treated?
To start, Dr. Ratcliff sits down and reviews your bunion, often ordering advanced imaging so he can take a closer look at what’s going on inside your foot. Once he ascertains the degree of your bunion, he comes up with a treatment plan to alleviate your discomfort and stop the bunion from progressing. This plan may include:
- Wearing shoes with roomier toe boxes
- Custom orthotics
- Toe pads
- Corticosteroid injections and anti-inflammatory medications
If your bunion has progressed too far and you’re plagued by pain, Dr. Ratcliff may recommend a bunionectomy to correct the problem. During this outpatient procedure, the doctor removes the bony protrusion and moves your metatarsal and big toe into a straighter position. There are different variations of this procedure and Dr. Ratcliff picks the one best suited to your situation.
You may have to be non-weight-bearing for a few weeks after your bunionectomy or you may be able to walk out in a surgical shoe. This depends upon the extent of the correction and which procedure is needed to correct your bunion.
For more information about correcting your bunion, call the office of James W. Ratcliff, DPM, or use the online scheduling tool to set up a consultation.