Bunions (hallux abducto valgus)

Bunions are a symptom of faulty foot mechanics caused by an inherited foot type and function

Bunions are a symptom of faulty foot mechanics caused by the foot we inherit and exacerbated by inappropriate footwear use. As the big toe bends towards the others this lump becomes larger and the bunion can become painful - arthritis and stiffness can eventually develop.

Bunions can follow foot injuries and trauma and people with flat or pronated feet appear to have a higher incidence of bunions.

Some activities, such as ballet dancing, put added pressure on the joint and may increase the chance of bunions developing.

As the big toe begins to deviate the bunion can become painful - there may be redness, some swelling, or pain at or near the joint.

With any pain the most important starting place is obtaining a confirmed diagnosis from an experienced health professional. Any pain of sudden and severe onset must be investigated urgently by your podiatrist or medical professional.

Management of Hallux Valgus (bunions)

Footwear - Wearing the right kind of shoes is very important. Choose shoes that have a wide toe box and forgo those with pointed toes or high heels which may aggravate the condition.

Padding - Pads placed over the area of the bunion can help redistribute pressure from the bunion area and reduce pain.

Activity modifications - Avoid activity that causes bunion pain, including standing for long periods of time.

Medication - Oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, may be recommended to reduce pain and inflammation.

Icing - Applying an ice pack several times a day helps reduce inflammation and pain.

Orthotic devices - customised orthotic devices are used to improve foot function and relieve pressure on the bunion joint with walking and activity.

Bunion surgery

If nonsurgical treatments fail to relieve bunion pain and when the pain of a bunion interferes with daily activities, it’s time to discuss surgical options with a foot orthopaedic surgeon.

A variety of surgical procedures is available to treat bunions. The procedures are designed to remove the “bump” of bone, correct the changes in the bony structure of the foot, and correct soft tissue changes that may also have occurred. The goal of surgery is the reduction of pain and deformity.

Formthotics can help relieve the symptoms of bunions

Formthotics support the structures of the foot to encourage improved foot function and relieve pressure on the bunion joint with walking and activity.

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