Bunions are lumps that develop on the joint at the base of the big toes. The medical name for bunions is hallux valgus, taken from the scientific name for a person’s big toe and the word for a deformity involving oblique displacement of part of a limb away from the midline.
Beyond the complex scientific name, bunions are actually the most common deformity of the forefoot. Being a progressive deformity, bunions can start off as a simple bump and develop into a painful disability. They are more common in women and people over 65 years of age and are thought to be a hereditary condition.
As the cause of bunions is unknown, prevention of this condition can be difficult. However, many factors are thought to contribute, including wearing high-heeled or ill-fitting shoes or footwear with pointed toes.
An underlying case of arthritis of the first metatarsophalangeal joint (big toe joint) is also believed to help the development of bunions. Reducing the time spent wearing these types of shoes is advised, along with not continually standing for long periods.
Instead, look for comfortable sandals, dress shoes, and any other footwear that doesn’t put additional stress on your feet. Avoiding unnecessary pressure on the first metatarsophalangeal joint can help get rid of discomfort and daily pain while you’re on your feet.
Untreated bunions can become extremely painful and inhibit a person’s mobility. Surgery is the only way to completely remove bunions and correct the position of the big toe.
There are a range of surgical options for treating bunions, but a doctor or podiatrist will need to diagnose the bunions and their severity. This will allow them to recommend the best procedure for treating the problem.
To read the whole article please see the Autumn issue (Oct/Nov/Dec 2018) Vol.75 No.4