Bunions are one of the most common complaints seen by podiatrists.
Patients with bunions will typically express concerns of pain when wearing tight fitting shoes, in particular dress shoes, or with physical activity such as running or walking. The podiatric approach to bunion treatment is always conservative care first: shoe modifications, splints, padding and functional custom foot orthotics and exercises.
The classic bunion, clinically referred to as Hallux Abducto Valgus (HAV), is a lump on the side of the big-toe joint line. This is due to the displacement of this joint, known as the 1st metatarsal-phalangeal joint. In severe cases, this joint displacement can cause the big toe to crossover the second and third toes.
Bunions can quickly turn from mild to severe in a short period of time.
As they are progressive in nature, it is very important to have bunions assessed as soon as you start to see any displacement take place. Early treatment allows for increase chances of minimising the disorder’s progression.
Although bunions tend to run in families, it is the faulty mechanical structure that is passed down — not the bunion itself.
Parents who suffer from poor foot mechanics can pass their problematic foot type on to their children, who in turn are prone to developing bunions.
The abnormal functioning caused by this faulty foot development can lead to abnormal pressures being exerted on and within the foot, often resulting in bone and joint deformities such as bunions and hammertoes.
Although wearing shoes that crowd the toes won’t actually cause bunions, it sometimes makes the deformity get progressively worse. This also explains the high occurrence of the disorder among women.