Bunions (Hallux valgus)
A bunion is a complex deformity that manifests as a bony bump at the joint at the base of the big toe. A bunion deformity develops when a muscle-tendon imbalance occurs at the joint of the big toe. Over time, the long bone (metatarsal), drifts outward forming the bony bump, and the big toe drift towards the smaller toes.
Bunions may be caused by genetics or medical conditions that stress your foot. They develop slowly and are more common in women. Many women wear tight, narrow shoes that squeeze the toes together—which makes it more likely for a bunion to develop, may worsen the bunion deformity more quickly, and may cause the pain to begin sooner.
Symptoms of Bunions
Symptoms may include:
- Redness, swelling, or tenderness in your big toe joint.
- Difficulty wearing regular shoes.
- Calluses or corns on or between the big and second toes
- Big toe turned toward the other toes and may cross over or under the second toe. Corns and calluses can develop as a result where the first and second toes overlap.
- Thick red skin along the inside edge at the base of the big toe.
- A bony bump at the first toe joint, with reduced mobility in your big toe.
- Pain over the joint, which pressure from shoes makes worse.
You may have problems finding shoes that fit or that do not cause pain.
How are bunions diagnosed and treated?
Not all bunions require medical attention. When a bunion first begins to develop, you can take the following steps to care of your feet.
- Wear felt/foam or silicone pads on your foot to protect the bunion, or devices called spacers to separate the first and second toes. These pads are commonly available at pharmacies.
- Wear wide-toed shoes. This can often solve the problem and prevent you from needing additional treatment.
If the problem persists, contact us at Augusta Foot & Ankle to make an appointment. Your doctor may prescribe pain relievers, cortisone injections, bunion shields or pads, wider or different kinds of shoes or custom insole orthotics.
If the bunion gets worse and more painful, surgery may help. There are more than 100 different surgeries to treat this condition. The most common, known as a bunionectomy, realigns the toe and removes the bony bump. Our surgeons also perform the newest techniques in surgical bunion correction, including Lapiplasty. Lapiplasty is a surgical procedure that corrects the root cause of bunions — a misaligned bone (metatarsal) behind the big toe— while dramatically shortening the time patients have to wait to bear weight on the affected foot.
Learn more about treating your bunions, call Augusta Foot & Ankle to schedule an appointment today.