A bunion (you may know it as ‘bump’ on your foot) is a foot deformity at the base of the big toe when the bone or tissue at the big toe joint, also known as the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint moves out of place. The big toe slowly moves towards the second toe, narrowing the gap, and sometimes the two toes may even overlap. As this joint carries a lot of the body’s weight whilst walking, bunions can result in extreme pain, where the MTP joint may become sore & stiff, leading to difficulty in wearing shoes.
What causes Bunions?
Bunions (Hallux abducto valgus) are formed when there is imbalance of forces that are placed on the joints and tendons. This created instability can result in increased pressure over the MTP joint combined with abnormal motion, and resulting in formation of bunions over years.
Bunions often run in families, however, it is not the bunion that is ‘inherited’ but rather the the foot type - such as flat feet or collapsed arches - and the resultant foot mechanics. The way we walk, our shoes and our inherited foot type can often lead to faulty foot development.
Wearing shoes that are ill-fitting, such as shoes that are too tight or cause the toes to be squeezed together, can increase the chances of developing a bunion in individuals already prone to them. This can often explain the high prevalence of bunions among women.
Other causes of bunions can be medical conditions such as arthritic patients, neuromuscular disease and gout.
What are the symptoms?
A ‘bump’ at the base of the big toe
Corns resulting from the overlap of the first and second toe
Pain and restricted movement of the big toe
Swelling, Redness or Pain at or near the big toe joint
Bunions won’t go away and have a tendency to get more painful and larger if left untreated. The treatment options will vary on a case by case basis. Identification of the deformity at an early stage is imperative in avoiding surgery. Our treatment options will focus on relieving pressure on the bunion and stopping the progression of the joint deformity.
If you would like more information on Bunions or are looking for podiatry treatment for your bunions - make an appointment to see a Podiatrist at ProPodiatry Clinic.