What Causes Bunions?
Bunions, or Hallux Valgus, are most often a result a developing bone disorders. Discomfort is caused by bony bumps at the base of the joint connected to the big toe. A structural problem in the bones of the foot and toes, usually the MTP (Metatarsophalangeal) joint, is at the root of their formation. Consequently, feet no longer align properly and the bone of the big toe pushes against the other toe instead of pointing straight ahead; as a result, the joint stars to protruding outward. While adults are the primary sufferers of bunion problems, teenagers can become sufferers too.
The most apparent symptom of bunions is bumps that form at the base of the big toe. They also sometimes form at the base of the little toe. Other possible symptoms include:
- Pain and soreness
- Appearance of redness
- Calloused skin underneath the foot
- Increased skin thickness at the base of the affected
- Restricted movement
- Feeling of burning sensations
A diagnosis is usually performed by observing and examining the bunion. Healthcare providers use physical examinations (which include X-rays) to diagnose the presence of bunions. This type of examination will generally indicate the severity a sufferers condition and provide treatment guidance.
When surgery is required, there are several procedures available. Bunion surgery is rarely suggested for younger bunion sufferers. The end game will be pain relief, realignment of the MTP joint and correction of deformities which are contributing to the bunion problem.
- Cannot straighten or bend a toe, because of stiffness
- Have deformities severe enough to cause toes to cross over to other toes
- Experience inflammation & pain that doesn’t improve with other treatments
- Full recovery from surgery can take up to six months. Regular follow-up doctor visits may be required.
Surgical Procedures Include:
The surgeon removes the bump on the joint of the toe. This surgical procedure is often performed with an osteotomy.
Corrective procedure used to to realign the toe joints. Physicians use screws, pins or plates to fix the toe bone.
Procedure to remove a swollen joint surface. Screws, wires, or plates are then inserted to hold the joint together during healing. This procedure helps those with severe bunions, arthritis, or those who have had previously unsuccessful bunion surgery.
Medications that can help with the accompanying pain and swelling can include:
- Pain-relieving medications: Ibuprofen help reduce swelling and pain. (available over-the-counter)
- Cortisone injections: Can relieve swelling of the fluid-filled pads that cushion the foot bones.
A physician will prescribe this treatment.
Use of properly fitting shoes with toe boxes that are wide and accommodating can discourage the development of bunions. Avoidance of high heeled and pointy-toed shoes is also helpful. Generally, any foot wear that squeezes, irritates or cramps the feet or toes should be avoided.