Bunions: How Did They Develop and What Should I Know?
Bunions: How Did They Develop and What Should I Know?Is there a big bony bump at your big toe joint? Are your shoes rubbing against the sides of your forefoot and causing blisters and pain? Do you struggle to fit your foot into narrow shoes? These are just some of the struggles many people experience when they’ve developed a bunion. But what is a bunion and how did it come to form (or may be starting to!) in your feet? The Podiatrist talks bunions.
What is a bunion?Otherwise known as Hallux Abducto-Valgus (HAV), a bunion describes a malaligned position of the big toe joint where the long bone (metatarsal) points inwards, creating that inward bulge at the inside of the foot, and from there the toe points outward toward the other toes. Bunions tend to progressively worsen and as they do, the ligaments and tissues surrounding the joint stretch and contract accordingly. Bony and arthritic changes can also occur within the joint, meaning not all bunions are the same and the right management needs to be decided on a case-by-case basis.
So, what causes bunions to develop?Causes of bunions are numerous and vary greatly. Think of things that squeeze or put greater pressure and force through the big toe joint - that may well be a potential contributing factor! Often the development of bunions will run in the family, are far more prevalent in women than men, and are thought to be linked with a mechanical instability at the big toe joint. Other contributing factors include:
- Poorly fitting footwear - especially when it’s too tight across the front of the foot!
- Regularly wearing high heels
- Flat feet
- Increasing age
- History of injury to the big toe joint
- Arthritic conditions
What are the signs and symptoms?Aside from the obvious change in appearance (protrusion) of the big toe joint, you may also experience:
- Pain at the big toe joint
- Thickened skin around the big toe joint
- Pain on bending the toe
- The bigger toe pushing into the lesser toes (which may begin to overlap the lesser toes)
What can be done for bunions?Because bunions get progressively worse over time, early intervention is key! It’s much easier to work with a bunion that’s been developing for one year rather than 20 years - though not impossible!
Clinically speaking, when we assess your feet, we grade your bunion based on how much the joint has changed and the motion still available through the joint. After we examine the bunion and get a feel of which stage is at, we’ll be able to thoroughly explain your options and how you can get the best results.
If you’ve had enough of bunions and not being able to fit footwear properly then give us a call! Our friendly, expert team are here to help 07 4638 2022