Most have heard of bunions or know personally from the direction their toes start moving. A bunion is when your big toe starts turning towards your other toes. A tailor's bunion is the same but at your pinky toe. Both lead to gait deviations, difficulty tolerating certain shoes, and at times, pain.
Surgery should definitely not be your first option. Bunions form due to imbalances in mobility or strength at the foot and/or up the chain. If these issues aren't addressed, a bunion will likely return after surgery. The same goes for continuing to wear narrow shoes - heels being the most obvious culprit- but even dress shoes, cleats, and most sneakers cram toes inside. For times when surgery is needed, it's even more important to rehab afterwards to prevent the bunion from returning. (picture credit: aaos.org)
The toes should be able to move freely within a shoe and spread in order to grip the ground to create a stable base. After decades of improper shoe wear, feet become the shape their most often put into and many find it difficult to spread or move their toes independently.
I've heard horror stories of people being told to rest, take an anti-inflammatory, walk it off, and never get referred to a PT, even after surgery. Most continue to have pain and difficulty walking. While we won't be able to reverse the bunion, similarly to arthritis, we can help mitigate the pain, work on your strength, mobility and strategies to make the foot resilient.
Luckily in NY there's direct access, meaning, people can see a PT first and not need a script!!
Listen to your body. If your physician gives you minimal advice or says "rest" or "walk it off", take initiative to see us in order to plan your best course of recovery.