A bunion (also referred as a hallux valgus or hallux abducto valgus) is often described as a bump on the side of the big toe. The visible bump reflects changes in the joint of the big toe. The big toe leans toward the second toe, rather than pointing straight ahead. This throws the bones out of alignment – producing the bunions “Bump”. Bunions are a progressive disorder. They begin with a leaning of the big toe, gradually changing the angle of the bones over the years and slowly producing the characteristic bump, which becomes increasingly prominent.
Bunions are caused by ligamentous laxity, tight or ill-fitting footwear, arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, over pronation or genetics. Symptoms which occur at the area of the bunion may include pain or soreness, inflammation and redness, a burning sensation and possible numbness. Symptoms occur most often when wearing tight shoes that crowd the toes.
Bunions are a progressive deformity, if left untreated they can become increasingly painful and debilitating.
At Mint Foot Care, we diagnose this condition by taking a comprehensive history, performing a biomechanical assessment and video gait analysis. The podiatrist may prescribe diagnostic imaging such as X-rays.
Based on the findings a combination of treatment options may be prescribed including:
- Wearing footwear with a rounder, deeper toe box and made of a softer more pliable leather will often provide immediate relief.
- The use of pads and cushions to reduce the pressure over the bone can also be helpful for mild bunion deformities.
- Prescribing custom orthotics, by controlling abnormal pronation, reduces the deforming forces leading to bunions in the first place. These will help reduce pain in bunion deformities and slow the progression of the deformity.