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Bunions

Bunion is a common disorder of the foot. Medically, bunions are referred to as hallux valgus, displacement of the great toe towards the other toes. The result is a hard bump or bunion on the inside edge of the toe. Women are more likely to have bunion than men. The exact cause is still unknown but the common causes attributed to developing bunions include:


  • When women use pointed-toe high-heeled shoes repeatedly it lays additional stress and pressure on the tissues at the base of the big toe.
  • Injury to the joint at the base of the big toe.
  • Inherited faulty mechanical structure of the foot.
  • Arthritis, especially in older people, increases risk of developing bunions.
  • Any kind of unnatural pressure on the foot that lasts over an extended period of time can result in bunions.
  • Weakness of foot ligaments.
  • Congenital deformities.

Symptoms of bunions

Bunions can be categorized into mild, moderate or severe. Having a bunion does not necessarily mean experiencing excruciating or mild pain in the affected area. There are instances when people with severe bunions donít experience pain and those with mild bunions experiencing a lot of pain. Possible symptoms of bunions include:


  • Redness of area surrounding big toe joint
  • Swelling in the joint of big toe
  • Difficulty in walking/moving big toe.
  • Pain in the inner foot margin.
  • Difficulty or pain while wearing tight foot wear.
  • Inability to wear normal size shoes.
  • Development of hammer toe
  • Corns or calluses

Prevent bunions

  • Choosing footwear that is well-fitting and comfortable.
  • Avoid stilettos. Prefer wedge or a chunky heel.
  • Two-inch heel is safer than four-inch heel.
  • Exercise daily to keep muscles of the feet and legs strong and healthy.
  • Consider switching exercise regime. Frequent runners should try alternating running days with a low-impact sport such as biking, swimming, speed walking, yoga or Pilates.
  • Wear an orthotic that will absorb the shock of impact feet.
  • To get relief from pain of bunions while wearing shoes, apply bunion cushions before slipping into shoes and just before retiring to bed apply an ice pack to reduce inflammation.
  • Take along orthotics while deciding on new shoes.

Diagnose bunions

If you suspect the bump on the feet to be a bunion irrespective of whether you experience symptoms or not, it is time to seek medical attention. Gradually, you may find it difficult to walk in the usual footwear.

The health care provider may ask questions related to duration of the bump, associated discomfort being experienced and the genetic factor. After visually examining the affected part, an x-ray may be required to determine possible cause and the stage of the bunion, how severe the bump is. X-rays help understand and assess the anatomy of the feet.


Treating bunions

The results of the x-ray will help health care provider understand the severity of the bunion. Unless a surgery is performed, bunion cannot be permanently removed. Surgery is resorted to only in such cases where the bunion results in excruciating pain and interferes with daily activities. Bunion surgery is done to help restore normal alignment to the toe joint and relieve pain. If the bunion does not cause pain or discomfort certain life style changes may be recommended which would prevent the bunion from getting worse.


  • Non-prescription medications to relieve pain and reduce swelling.
  • Change of footwear.
  • Using ice to relieve pain and reduce swelling or cold compressors.
  • Adding shoe inserts to shoes.
  • Use of bunion night splints and bunion pads to reduce size of bunions.

Podiatrist

A Podiatrist is a medical professional who treats disorders of the feet and ankles. They are also referred to as chiropractors. Persons suffering from disorders such as hammertoes, ingrown toenails, calluses, spurs, bunions and other foot problems are treated by a podiatrist. A podiatric physician must have a degree in podiatric medicine.


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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: October 16, 2017