Hallux abducto valgus, commonly known as a bunion, is a deformity characterized by a bony hump at the base of the big toe where it affixes to the foot.
Bunions are the result of uneven weight distribution, placing pressure at certain joints and tendons in your feet. This disproportionality in pressure creates instability at your big toe joint, overtime shaping the parts of the joint into a solid protuberance that extends out past the normal contour of your foot. Bunions can be inherited, caused by foot injuries, wearing high heels, or a deformity present at birth (congenital). In addition, bunions may be linked to inflammatory types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
In order to identify your bunion, your podiatrist can take a physical exam by watching your big toe as you move it up and down. He/she will also look for redness or swelling. After physical examination, an X-ray of your foot will reveal the cause and severity of your bunion.
There are a number of treatment options in both the conservative and non-conservative approach:
- Changing shoes. Wear comfortable, sizeable shoes that provide room for your toes.
- Padding and taping or splinting. Your podiatrist can tape and pad your foot in a normal position.
- To control the pain of a bunion, anti-inflammatories (acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen) can be given. Cortisone injections can also reduce the pain.
- Orthotics. This padded shoe insert helps evenly spread pressure on your foot.
- After a long day on your feet, icing your bunion will alleviate soreness and inflammation.
If conservative treatment fails to provide relief, surgery may be the next best option. The aim of bunion surgery is to reposition your big toe to the normal position. Procedures include:
- Removing the inflamed tissue surrounding your big toe joint.
- Straightening your big toe by resecting part of the bone.
- Straightening your great toe relative to the first metatarsal and adjacent toes.
- Permanently affixing the bones of your affected joint.
Prevention of bunions from emerging or worsening overtime include: wear true shoe size, wear shoes with a wide toe box, and wear shoes that don’t press or congest your feet.
Depending on the severity of your bunion, appropriate measures can be taken to treat the underlying cause and symptoms. If you experience pain and discomfort with your bunion, be sure to seek professional care from one of our doctors here at Foot Care Associates in Hackettstown, Landing, and Washington.