What is a Bunion?
Bunions, also known as hallux abducto valgus (HAV) is a progressive musculoskeletal foot deformity that is often seen in both men and women. The deformity involves the big toe deviating towards the smaller toes, and it can even override the second toe when it becomes severe. Sometimes, a bony bump may occur on the side the big toe joint.
Bunions are commonly noticeable in the middle age to older population, but it is not uncommon for children to develop this. Roughly 23% of the adult population have developed hallux abductovalgus and 35.7% in the older population.
Signs and symptoms usually occur during the later stages.
They may include:
- Redness/Irritation of skin
- Stiffness of the big toe joint
- Formation of hard skin
- You may not have any symptoms at all, especially in the early stages.
Why is it Important to Treat Bunions?
As bunions progresses, more symptoms can develop and worsen over time, so it is best to treat them as soon as possible. Hallux abducto valgus can present at multiple stages. Treatment is most effective in the early stages of development, when the big toe is still flexible and has normal joint range of motion. Bunions have also been linked to functional disability which includes impaired gait patterns, falls among the older population, foot pain, forefoot deformity and poor balance. If left un-treated, you may also develop arthritis and will increase your risk of developing forefoot problems.
What Causes Bunions?
There are multiple factors that cause bunions to develop. The main risk factors include:
- Inheriting certain biomechanical factors – Flexible joints, pronated foot posture type (“flat” feet)
- Incorrect footwear – This can contribute and accelerate the development of bunions. Prolonged wearing of tight-fitting footwear are the main cause and they include high heels and shoes with a narrow toe box
- Trauma to the big toe
- And other factors
How your Podiatrist can Help You:
At Gen Physio, our podiatrists can help prevent the early development of hallux abducto valgus by addressing the risk factors and developing a treatment plan tailored to you. These may include:
- Footwear advice
- Strengthening and stretching regime
- Toe prop
- Other conservative treatments
Our podiatrists’ aim is to keep your feet healthy, to minimise the development of bunions and decrease pain with conservative treatment. Surgery is an option and should only be considered as a last resort if all non-invasive treatments have failed. Our podiatrists can assess you and may refer you to the best surgeons if this is an option.
It is recommended that you have your feet annually checked by your podiatrist.
What to do now?
If you or your children are suffering from bunions, give us a call at Gen Physio, we have a friendly team of professionals that are dedicated to changing the lives of our clients. All of our clinicians are mobile and come to your own home to conduct an examination. Give us a call on 1300 122 884 to book a consultation today.
Article written by Cherie Nguyen