Bunions are a common foot condition that can cause discomfort and affect a person’s quality of life. Understanding Bunion is essential for early detection and effective management.
What are Bunions?
A bunion, medically known as Hallux Valgus, is a bony bump that forms at the base of the big toe. This condition develops gradually over time, as the big toe begins to deviate from its natural alignment, angling towards the other toes. The bony bump that forms is a result of the metatarsal bone shifting outward and the big toe shifting inward, causing the joint to protrude.
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Bunions can have a variety of causes, both genetic and environmental. Some contributing factors include:
- Foot structure:
People with flat feet or low arches are more prone to developing bunions due to altered mechanics of the foot.
- Improper footwear:
Tight, narrow shoes with pointed toes can force the toes into unnatural positions, increasing the risk of bunions. High heels can exacerbate the problem from putting extra pressure on the forefoot.
Genetic factors can play a role in the development of bunions. If your parents or grandparents had bunions, you might be more susceptible.
Trauma to the foot, can lead to changes in the structure of the foot and possibly contribute to bunion formation.
- Systemic illness:
Medical conditions such as Rheumatoid Arthritis are known to cause bunions to develop.
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- Swelling around the bunion
- Redness: the skin may become irritated from footwear
- Limited mobility, as the condition progresses, the movement of the big toe may decrease.
- Corns and Calluses due to friction or pressure from footwear
Early assessment and intervention can help manage bunions and slow their progression. Podiatrists can help in a variety of ways.
- Footwear advice and modifications
- Orthotics to help realign and support the feet
- Routine podiatry care of calluses and corns that may be contributing to pain from bunions
- Padding to reduce friction and pressure
- Bunion Splints: won’t help to reduce a bunion’s size or shape, but may provide some pain relief
- Physical therapy: exercises that may improve foot strength and flexibility to aid in pain reduction
- Medications: Over the counter pain relief and anti-inflammatory drugs may be useful in short term pain reduction.
- Surgery: In severe cases where conservative measures fail, surgery may be indicated and your Podiatrist can assist in referral for surgical consultation if desired.
- Choosing proper footwear: opt for shoes that are comfortable, have a wide toe box and provide adequate arch support
- Avoid high heels: limiting use of high heels can help to prevent bunions
If you suspect you have a bunion or are experiencing foot discomfort, it is wise to consult a Podiatrist for proper diagnosis and guidance.
Call us at Sole Podiatry or make an appointment below if you’d like to consult with one of our Experienced Podiatrists.
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