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by Dora L
my right foot
I've had a bunion on my right foot (photo attached) that first became noticeable when I was in high school (ran track and cross country but noticed bunion in pointy shoes). A podiatrist diagnosed it when I was in college. At 36, I have pretty much given up on running, have discomfort walking (but do it anyway), and take much ibuprofen for hikes with my husband, which I am unwilling to give up. (On a recent 100-mile hike over the course of a week, I took 6-8 200-mg ibuprofen/day, which may have reduced the pain somewhat but certainly did not eliminate it.) I tried orthotics about 3 years ago and in spite of wearing them for over 2 years and having them adjusted several times (at the beginning), they never provided relief from bunion pain. Maybe I gave up on the adjustments prematurely but I just didn't find relief and was a bit disgusted that something relatively pricey seemed to have so little effect. I read your bunion section amd I think I have both pain in the "bump" area as well as joint pain-- I can't use elliptical machines, for instance, because the joint pain is pretty uncomfortable after just a few minutes. I do not wear pointy shoes, I am careful about shoes I wear, but experience some pain walking in most shoes.
I don't want surgery now because I hate the idea of my activity being limited during a recovery; besides that, I just don't want to have to have surgery. A sports medicine doctor told me having bunion surgery would not necessarily achieve the desired outcome: a fixed foot that I can run on. My question is, is cortisone injection a reasonable option for a period of time, to eliminate pain and to allow increased activity level? I read that you don't recommend anti-inflammatories as long-term solutions. Makes sense. But is it foolish to consider cortisone treatment for a limited time (1-2 years)? Would it be foolish to attempt activities like running after receiving cortisone injections that reduced the bunion pain-- would such activities involving impact worsen the deformity?
Thanks for any advice you can provide.
You are right, you cannot take ibuprofen indefinately, you are not doing yourself any service. You could try a cortisone injection; it might give you relief for a prolonged period of time but I do not think it will permanently render your bunion painless.
Even though you are not anxious to have surgery and of course there is never any guarantees regarding the outcome of surgery, I think the "risk-reward" favors you and it might be an option that is worth entertaining.
You are young and very active and it sounds like the bunion is putting a damper on your lifestyle.
Read my essay on "Surgical consideration" and it might just change your mind.
Marc Mitnick DPM