Bunions

What is a Bunion?

A bunion is also called a Hallux Valgus. This is a condition where the big toe is excessively angled towards the second toe, when it should be pointing forwards in a straight line. Over time, this angle can become excessive and gives the appearance of a “bump”, inside the big toe joint. This is what is called a bunion.

What are the symptoms of a bunion?

  • Red or swollen bunion
  • Pain from the bunion due to footwear
  • Hard thick skin
  • Corns may appear over the bunion from excessive pressure.
  • Difficult finding the right footwear to accommodate the enlarged joint.

What are the causes of a bunion?

The reason why a bunion will occur is due to ill fitting shoes. Footwear that is too tight, narrow or high heeled can cause great stream on the big toe joint. If these shoes are worn over and over again, in time a bunion will form, -this is why bunions are more common in Women.

Recently there has been evidence to suggest that bunions could form due to an inherited bio-mechanical problem.  They are also made worse or caused by arthritis.

What should I do if I have a bunion?

If you have a bunion then an assessment by a podiatrist, physiotherapist or an orthopedic surgeon may be necessary. Often bunions can be managed conservatively, though some may require a referral for surgical correction.

What shouldn’t I do if I have a bunion?

Bunions will become progressively worse and more painful over time, it is difficult to know how fast this will occur. The best forms of prevention is to avoid high heel and poor fitted shoes.

Could there be any long – term effects from a bunion?

There is a danger that the smaller toes may be affected as a result of a bunion, due to the malalignment of the big toe joint. They may change shape or start to overlap. A fluid-filled space called a bursa may also develop under the skin over the bunion which can be painful. Early conservative management can help to slow the progression of the condition, though surgery may the preferred option to resolve the problem.

Podiatry treatment for bunions

Advice about suitable footwear can be provided by a podiatrist which may help to slow the progression of the condition and make it more comfortable. Corns or callus that may appear over the bunion can be removed by a podiatrist. Silicone gel appliances can be provided to cushion and protect the bunion. If these conservative treatments provide an inadequate level of relief, a surgical referral will be required.

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