Hallux valgus, more commonly known as a bunion, is the bony prominence or lump occurring on the side of the big toe. It’s not an abnormal bone growth or tumour – it’s simply a condition where the big toe is angled excessively towards the second toe.
Pressure from the big toe can also lead to a deformity in the second toe, pushing the other toes sideways. This can cause swelling, irritation and a burning sensation, which can get progressively worse. A bunion can also lead to the development of hammertoes, corns and calluses.
Causes of Bunions
Bunion deformities are quite common within family groups and there is a significant hereditary factor. They are more common in women, probably because of the shoes they wear, such as high heels with narrow toes. Having said this, bunion sufferers can be found in societies where shoes are rarely worn so there is no one main cause. In many respects poor footwear will exacerbate the bunion issue rather than be the sole cause of it.
Treatment of Bunions
Bunions are a complex deformity and your treatment will depend on the severity of the bunion. However, there’s no doubt that in many cases, a severe bunion will have a negative impact on what you can do, and what you can wear on your feet, over time. Conservative treatment can include shoe modifications, foot padding, anti-inflammatory medication, orthotics and, occasionally, injections, which may be recommended as a way of diminishing painful symptoms. However, quite often a bunion requires surgery, with the type of surgery depending on the severity of the bunion.
One of our experienced Podiatry Surgeons will discuss your condition with you and may recommend surgical treatment. Dozens of surgical procedures have been developed over the past 150 years to treat bunion deformity and a suitable surgical procedure may be recommended to you, based on a full diagnosis and an evaluation of the severity of the deformity and your level of discomfort.
Conditions such as hammertoes can often be treated at the same time.
As a general rule, Bunion Surgery is performed as a day case. Following surgery, your foot will be bandaged and you will have to wear a post-operative shoe for two weeks. Trainers may be worn after the second week. For the first six to eight weeks after the operation, you will be advised to restrict weight-bearing exercise and avoid prolonged standing and walking.