A bunion is a bone deformity that develops when the big toe moves out of place towards the smaller toes. Unfortunately, it’s an often uncomfortable and painful condition. It is characterized by the enlargement of the metatarsophalangeal joint, or joint at the base and side of the big toe. The enlargement and protuberance cause friction and pressure as they rub against footwear, often causing foot pain and discomfort.
There are two common bunion conditions. When the big toe angles in toward the smaller toes and overlaps a third toe, it’s known as hallux valgus. When the big toe moves toward the second toe and rotates or twists, it’s known as hallus abducto valgus. Both require treatment to prevent discomfort, pain, and progression.
It’s estimated that bunions occur in 33 percent of the population in Western countries. This is a significant percentage of the population, so it’s important to understand the causes of bunions and bunion treatments to prevent them from progressing into further toe deformities, like hammertoe.
Causes of Bunions
The fact that bunions are so common is proof that there are a variety of causes of bunions. Often, bunions are hereditary and caused by inherited structural defects of the foot. Despite using prevention methods, many patients have abnormal bone structure of the foot from birth and bunions are unavoidable. Some neuromuscular problems can cause bunions as well.
Other common environmental factors that cause bunions are:
- Ill-fitting footwear
- Arthritis or other joint conditions
- Foot injuries
- Flat feet, collapsed arches, or pronation
Symptoms of Bunions
How do you know if you have bunions? The easiest way to tell is by looking at the shape of your feet. The most common symptoms of bunions are:
Enlargement and/or arthritic changes of the big toe joint
Toes begin to push together and/or overlap
Discomfort and pain from irritation, rubbing, and friction in shoes
If you suffer from these symptoms, it’s important to visit a chiropodist to properly diagnose your bunions and take action to prevent the condition from progressing.
The best way of preventing bunions from forming and progressing is to wear properly-fitting footwear. Footwear that is too tight can cause misalignments in the foot and the development of bunions. Always ensure your footwear offers enough arch support to prevent collapse or pronation.
If bunions have already formed, custom foot orthotics should be used to prevent them from developing further or creating other foot conditions. McQuistan Chiropody can create custom foot orthotics for you to prevent other problems from developing and ease the discomfort caused by bunions.
If left untreated, bunions can cause a variety of further problems. Calluses and corns, overlapping toes, hammer toes, claw toes, and more seriously, arthritis and difficulty walking are just a few of the side effects of untreated bunions.
There are a number of bunion treatments depending on the severity of the case. The most common treatments are:
- Protective shoe padding
- Orthopedic footwear
- Custom foot orthotics
- Splints for nighttime
- Removal of corns and calluses
Using a variety of these treatments can help curb the progression or development of bunions. In more severe cases, bunion surgery may be an option.
For more information about how to diagnose and treat bunions, contact McQuistan Chiropody. We can help you eliminate discomfort and pain caused by bunions!