What is bunion and hallux valgus?
Hallux valgus is a condition when the big toe of the foot called the hallux starts to deviate inward towards the direction of the little toe. As the big toe drifts over into valgus, a bump starts to develop on the inside of the big toe over the metatarsal bone. This bone prominence on the inner edge for the metatarsal is referred to as a bunion. A bunion is a bony lump on the side of your foot, which develops when your big toe starts to angle towards your second toe. The bunion eventually causes discomfort and pain. The skin over the lump can become red, blistered or infected.
Symptoms of bunions
If you have a bunion, you may have:
- pain or stiffness of the big toe joint
- swelling of the big toe joint
- difficulty walking
- difficulty finding shoes that fit
If you have any of these symptoms, see us.
Causes of bunions
Bunions are generally hereditary but wearing footwear that is too tight or causing the toes to be squeezed together is undoubtedly the main contributing factor for the cause of bunions and hallux valgus.
A bunion occurs as a result of a problem with your big toe known as hallux valgus. Hallux means the big toe and valgus means that it’s pointing outwards towards the other toes.
In hallux valgus the bone in your foot at the base of your big toe, called the first metatarsal, moves out at the side of your foot. Your big toe angles towards your other toes.
There is evidence that people can inherit a tendency to develop bunions. However, it doesn’t always follow that if your parents or grandparents have bunions, you will have them too.
Hallux valgus affects more women than men. This may be because the ligaments in the foot (the structures that connect bones together) are usually looser in women than men.
The type of shoes you wear may also affect the development of a bunion. If you wear narrow or high-heeled shoes, this puts extra strain on the bones and muscles in your foot, pushing your toes together and forcing your big toe to point towards your other toes. Footwear alone doesn’t cause bunions, but it can worsen them.
Bunions are also sometimes associated with joint diseases including osteoarthritis. However, there is usually no serious underlying cause.
Diagnosis of bunion
We will be able to diagnose a bunion by asking about your symptoms and examining your foot. You may also have blood tests or an X-ray to assess your bones and joints and to rule out any other medical condition, such as gout.
What are the treatments?
The treatment of a bunion depends entirely on how uncomfortable it is. The initial goal of treatment options is to relieve pressure on the bunion and any symptoms that may be present and to halt or slow the progression of the joint deformity. There is no effective way of getting rid a bunion without surgery.