What is a Bunion?
A bunion is an enlargement of the joint at the base of the great toe (metatarsophalangeal joint/MTPJ). With this condition, patients develop a painful bump that forms as a result of an imbalance or misalignment of the foot. Other names for the condition include “Hallux Valgus” and “Hallux Abductovalgus.”
Since the great toe joint is highly weight-bearing, bunions can cause significant pain. The MTP joint deformity may become stiff and sore, making walking and wearing shoes difficult. Bunions can also occur on the outside of the foot (along the little toe) where it called a “Tailors Bunion” or “Bunionette.”
What causes a bunion?
Bunions are the product of unnatural forces and motion being applied to the joints and tendons of your foot over a prolonged period of time. They can also be caused by traumas to the foot as well as congenital deformities. Occupations or athletic activities that place abnormal stress on your feet can also lead to the formation of bunions.
Often bunions, or the abnormal foot types that cause the bunions, are hereditary. Wearing shoes such as high heels that do not distribute your body weight evenly can also contribute to the formation and worsening of the bunions.
Treatment for Bunions:
Drs. Vinokur treat bunion conditions both conservatively and surgically, depending upon the severity of the deformity and symptoms. After a thorough examination, including clinical evaluation, X-rays and gait analyses, an appropriate treatment plan will be decided. The main goal of early treatment options is to alleviate pressure on the bunion and stop the advancement of the joint deformity. Some of the common treatments provided to patients at our offices include:
- Use of gel bunion shields and paddings to protect and cushion the bone
- Injections and anti-inflammatories to temporarily relieve pain from inflammation of the bunion area
- Recommendation of shoes with wider toe boxes to accommodate the bony prominence
- Removal of corns and calluses that can occur from friction of the bunion and toes
- Custom Orthotics help stabilize the foot
- may reduce symptoms and prevent worsening of the deformity
- surgery will remove the bony enlargement, restore the normal alignment of the joint and relieve pain
- A simple bunionectomy, in which only the bony prominence is removed, may be used for the less severe deformity
- Severe bunions may require a more involved procedure, which includes cutting the bone and realigning the joint with screws/pins
A visit to the FootCare Group at the first indication of pain or discomfort is important. If left untreated, bunions may get larger and more painful. If you need treatment for bunion pain, please contact our office to schedule an appointment