The term bunion refers to a swelling on the side of the foot on the big toe joint. The condition arises when the big toe leans too much into the second toe. The medical term for the condition is hallux valgus.
As the swelling can be prominent, the area is prone to rubbing on shoes, resulting in inflammation and pain.
Bunions are extremely common and are a genetic condition. The majority of people with bunions will have a family history of the condition. Other causes of bunions can be through injury, arthritis and muscle imbalance.
Bunions are more common in females than males, mainly because tight footwear and high heeled shoes can accelerate the condition.
It is important to note that bunions are not always painful. However, here are some of the symptoms that may occur from a bunion.
- The big toe and the second toe crossing over
- Difficultly walking
- Difficultly wearing shoes, especially tight shoes.
Treatment for bunion correction will depend on the size and severity of the bunion. Around half of all bunion sufferers will not need surgery. Nonsurgical treatment can be used to alleviate the pain and reduce the pressure on the foot to stop it rubbing.
- Well fitted shoes can help reduce the pain
- An orthotic (a device inserted into the shoe to prevent the condition from worsening)
- Biomechanics – improving the posture of the foot and ankle
- Physiotherapy and podiatry
Bunion surgery involves rearranging the bone that is sticking out of the foot by realigning it into a better position.
The operation will reposition the bones, ligaments and tendons in the foot and use screws or wires to keep the bones in place.
Following bunion correction surgery the patient may have a splint or a cast to keep the foot in shape and stop it from moving whilst it is healing.
The patient will normally have crutches and a special shoe.
Physiotherapy is recommended to help speed up the recovery process.