Bunion or Hallux valgus is a condition characterized by a body deformity of the joint situated at the big toe’s base.
Depending on the condition’s severity, treatment alternatives can range from taking painkiller medications to having bunions surgery.
Telltale symptoms of bunions include:
- Pain and inflammation of the joint of the big toe
- A swollen bump situated on the outside edge of the foot
- Callused and red skin on the affected toe
- Sore skin on the top of the area affected
- Noticeable changes in the foot’s shape
Sans proper attention and treatment, the condition can worsen and may even require bunions surgery.
While no exact causes for bunions are known, there are probable causes that have been identified.
Some of the likely causes include:
Bunions has been associated with the following types of arthritis:
Psoriatic arthritis – associated with psoriasis, a known skin condition
Gout – this type typically affects the big toe
Rheumatoid arthritis – swelling and pain of the join can be attributed to the joint lining being attacked by the body’s own immune system
If you have family members that have bunions, you have a relatively higher risk of also developing the condition.
However, it will not always follow that if someone in the family has it, everyone in the family will also have it.
Other possible causes
Poor fitting shoes
Wearing of footwear that is too tight has been known to contribute to the development of the condition.
For those who already have the condition, poor choice of footwear can no doubt make the condition even worse.
Non-surgical treatment alternatives
Noninvasive treatment options are almost always the first resort when treating the condition.
However, while non-surgical treatment alternatives can do much when it comes to alleviating both the discomfort and the pain, it won’t do much when it comes to preventing the condition from escalating over time.
Non-surgical treatment options include:
When the bunion is painful, over-the-counter painkillers are prescribed.
Paracetamol and ibuprofen are classic examples of OTC painkillers.
To play safe, make sure to always read the accompanying information leaflet and follow the dosage recommended.
Bunion pads are also known to effectively ease pain brought about by the condition.
Reusable bunion pads made of gel or fleece can be easily purchased from pharmacies nowadays.
Bunion pads offer comfort by helping ensure your foot does not rub against your shoe.
Minimizing rubbing can help significantly reduce both pain and pressure.
Orthotics are typically placed inside the shoes and will work by helping realign the foot’s bones.
Orthotics has also been known effective in reducing the pain since it helps minimize pressure on the feet.
However, no evidence has been available yet when it comes to the effectiveness of orthotics even when used for long periods.
If the bunion is very painful and already affects the patient’s quality of life, bunion surgery would be the recommended (and ideal) treatment recourse.
The surgery will be carried out in order to ease the pain and correct the alignment.
Nowadays, bunion surgeries are done as an outpatient procedure.
A general or local anesthetic will be used but the patient will not be required to stay in the hospital.
Different types of bunion surgeries
There are numerous surgical procedures for the treatment of bunions.
The procedure chosen will depend on the severity of the condition.
Some of the most common surgical procedures include:
This procedure is often considered ideal for those with advanced joint degeneration and severe deformities.
The procedure will entail fusing together the two bones in the big toe joint.
Post-surgery, patients would no longer be able to wear high heels as it would limit the movement of the big toe.
This type of surgery for the bunion is deemed one of the most common.
The procedure involves cutting and removing a portion of the affected toe’s bone.
After the bony lump is removed, the bones will be realigned.