“My Grandmother had these big bumps on her feet and now I’m worried I’ll get them too!”
If this commonly-used phrase applies to you, then it sounds like you’re worried about Bunions (or as Podiatrists like to call it – Hallux Abducto Valgus). To put it simply, Bunions are bony lumps that form at the 1st Metatarsophalangeal joint (the joint at the base of the big toe).
But this is not the only anatomical issue occurring. Bunions also involve angulation of the bones that articulate at this joint, and sometimes may involve an adventitial bursa (small collection of fluid) that sits over the bony lump.
Bunions make for a very painful and angry looking joint, and it’s no surprise that you want to avoid something like this.
There is no single cause of a bunion however the following factors may increase your risk:
- A family History of Bunions
- Abnormal foot biomechanics (e.g. flat foot)
- -Osteoarthritis or Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Wearing non-supportive or constrictive footwear
Any signs of inflammation, redness, bone/joint angulation, or pain at the base of the big toe may indicate the formation of a bunion.
Early intervention is the key
If you notice you are developing a bunion, the main treatment goal will be to prevent it from progressing any further. A great place to start is good quality, well-fitting, supportive footwear.
Other treatments include foot exercises and mobilisation to restore joint mobility and anti-inflammatory medication. We will also examine whether there is a biomechanical cause behind the formation of the Bunion.
Custom foot orthotics are a great option when it comes to preventing biomechanical abnormalities.They can subsequently prevent the progression of the Bunion and decrease pain by improving joint function.
If you have had a Bunion for an extended period of time, the only way to correct the joint is through surgical means (there are multiple surgical procedures for this), however, as mentioned above, we can still prevent it from getting worse by utilising effective conservative treatments.