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BUNIONS

A bunion, medically known as "hallux valgus," is a deformity of the big toe joint that causes the big toe to deviate away from the normal alignment, pointing towards the other toes. This can result in a bony prominence at the base of the big toe on the inner side of the foot.

WHAT IS A BUNION?

 

A bunion, medically known as "hallux valgus," is a deformity of the big toe joint that causes the big toe to deviate away from the normal alignment, pointing towards the other toes. This can result in a bony prominence at the base of the big toe on the inner side of the foot. Bunions typically form gradually over time due to various factors, including genetics, wearing tight or ill-fitting shoes, and certain foot conditions.

Bunions can cause pain, swelling, redness, and discomfort, especially when walking or wearing shoes. They can also lead to the development of other foot problems, such as hammertoes (abnormal bending of the smaller toes), corns, and calluses.

 

The exact cause of bunions is not always clear, but they often result from an imbalance in the forces that control the positioning of the toe joint.

As stated, the exact cause of bunions is not always clear-cut and is often the result of a combination of factors. Some of the main contributing factors include:

  1. Genetics: A family history of bunions can increase the likelihood of developing them. Certain foot shapes and structures that are inherited can predispose individuals to developing bunions.

  2. Foot Anatomy: People with certain foot shapes or structural abnormalities are more prone to developing bunions. For example, having a low arch or flat feet can contribute to the development of bunions.

  3. Improper Footwear: Wearing tight, narrow, or high-heeled shoes can force the toes into unnatural positions, putting extra pressure on the joint at the base of the big toe. Over time, this can contribute to the development of bunions.

  4. Foot Injuries: Trauma or injury to the foot can alter the mechanics of the foot and contribute to the misalignment of the big toe joint.

  5. Connective Tissue Disorders: Some conditions that affect the connective tissues in the body, such as rheumatoid arthritis, can increase the risk of developing bunions.

  6. Aging: As we age, the ligaments and tendons in our feet may weaken, causing the toes to shift out of alignment.

  7. Occupational Factors: Certain occupations that involve prolonged periods of standing or walking, as well as wearing inappropriate footwear, can increase the risk of developing bunions.

  8. Gender: Bunions are more common in women than in men. This might be due in part to the fact that women often wear tighter and less supportive footwear.

  9. Medical Conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as neuromuscular disorders or conditions that affect the foot's biomechanics, can contribute to the development of bunions.

It's important to note that while these factors can increase the risk of developing bunions, not everyone with these risk factors will necessarily develop the condition. Additionally, the severity of bunions can vary widely among individuals. If you are concerned about bunions or are experiencing foot pain, consulting a medical professional, such as a podiatrist, can provide you with a more personalised assessment and guidance on managing or treating the condition.

What are the symptoms of Bunions?

Bunions can cause a variety of symptoms, ranging from mild discomfort to more significant pain and functional limitations.

Common symptoms associated with bunions include:

  1. Visible Bump: A noticeable bump or protrusion on the inner side of the foot, at the base of the big toe.

  2. Toe Deviation: The big toe may gradually angle toward the other toes, causing the joint to stick out and the toe to point inward.

  3. Pain: Pain and tenderness at the base of the big toe or along the side of the foot. The pain may be intermittent or persistent and can range from mild to severe.

  4. Swelling: Swelling around the affected area, which can contribute to discomfort and a feeling of tightness in shoes.

  5. Redness and Inflammation: The skin over the bunion area may become red, irritated, or inflamed.

  6. Corns and Calluses: Due to the friction and pressure caused by the bunion rubbing against shoes, corns and calluses can develop. These can cause additional discomfort.

  7. Limited Movement: As the bunion progresses, it may become more difficult to move the big toe, leading to decreased range of motion.

  8. Pain While Walking: The pain and pressure from the bunion can make it uncomfortable to walk, especially in shoes that are narrow or have a tight toe box.

  9. Secondary Foot Issues: Over time, the misalignment of the big toe joint can affect the alignment of other toes, leading to conditions like hammertoes.

  10. Bunion-Related Arthritis: In some cases, the abnormal positioning of the big toe joint can lead to arthritis, causing joint pain and stiffness.

It's important to note that the severity of symptoms can vary from person to person and may not always correlate with the size of the bunion. If you suspect you have a bunion or are experiencing foot pain, it's advisable to consult a healthcare professional, such as a podiatrist. They can provide a proper diagnosis, assess the severity of the condition, and recommend appropriate treatments based on your individual circumstances.

How can you treat Bunions?

Treatment options for bunions vary depending on the severity of the condition and the degree of pain or discomfort experienced.

 

Non-surgical approaches may include:

  1. Wearing comfortable, properly fitting shoes with a wider toe box to reduce pressure on the affected area.

  2. Using orthotic devices or shoe inserts to help redistribute pressure on the foot.

  3. Applying ice and taking over-the-counter pain relievers to manage pain and inflammation.

  4. Physical therapy exercises to improve toe alignment and strengthen the muscles in the foot.

In more severe cases, where pain and functional impairment are significant, or if conservative methods fail to provide relief, surgical intervention might be considered. Bunion surgery involves realigning the bones of the big toe joint and may require the removal of excess bone or tissue.

If you suspect you have a bunion or are experiencing foot pain, consult a healthcare professional, such as a podiatrist o, for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment recommendations.

DO YOU SUFFER WITH BUNIONS?
GET BOOKED IN FOR A BIOMECHANICS APPOINTMENT

£105.00

 

Our team will conduct a full assessment including medical history, foot & lower limb posture, strength & motion tests, gait assessment using pressure plate system, and treatment plan discussion. Following your assessment and review of your medical history, this appoint may suitable to diagnose an treat conditions in the list above.

For this appointment it is important to have the appropriate medical history as this will allow our podiatrists to identify and treat the problem more effectively. If you have any previous GP refferal notes, scans or test results please bring these with you.

You will need the following for your appointment:

A pair of shorts. A selection of footwear, 1 to 3 pairs of shoes (footwear you wear daily/ and or your sporting footwear).

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