A bony bump on the side of the big toe joint is known as a bunion. It is also known as hallux valgus. To begin with, a bunion would start at the side of the big toe but if not treated then it can affect the entire forefoot. Bunions can affect both feet or just one. Generally it starts with one foot then progresses to the other. Joint pain and shoes not fitting properly are the main problems people have.
Bunions develop for many reasons, usually there's more than one reason for this. Some common factors in developing this deformity are wearing ill fitting shoes, injury, hereditary, arthritis. All these things could be a cause for bunion deformity.
Bunions may be noticeable in children or may develop later on in life. Generally bunions don't cause any problems to children under the age of 7. It is common for them to develop between 20 and 30 years of age. They are more common in women usually due to wearing shoes that do not fit properly. Over the age of 60, at least 50% of women suffer from this deformity.
There are many treatments available to treat a bunion deformity, whether it is to correct it or to stop it from getting worse. The kind of treatment needed will depend on how severe the deformity is, the lifestyle of the patient and many other factors. If you think you are developing a bunion then seek advice from a Registered Podiatrist or visit your GP. You may need an assessment and x-rays before the best possible treatment for you can be established. You may need a surgical procedure to correct this deformity.
People who suffer from this condition struggle to find shoes that fit and support the feet appropriately. It can be very uncomfortable so it is recommended to wear trainers or soft leather shoes instead. For severe deformities where the joint is irritated when wearing footwear, it may be necessary to wear wide fit shoes or have special ones made. Bespoke or orthopaedic footwear would be perfect for this.
It is common for bunions to be affected by other conditions such as corns, calluses and arthritis. The podiatrist assessing your bunion will address these issues. There are other treatments that can help to relieve symptoms:
Biomechanics: Podiatrists may use biomechanical therapy in treating other issues affecting the bunion or in slowing down the progression of the bunion. A gait scan may be part of the podiatrists assessment and an orthotic may be given to be used in your shoe.
Splints: Specialist day or night splints are worn to slow down the progression of the bunion. Your podiatrist will decide whether they are right for you. Sometimes splints are used for mobilisation,