Hallux Valgus - What is bunion?
Hallux Valgus (bunion) a hallux abducto valgus deformity, commonly called a bunion, is a deformity characterized by lateral deviation of the great toe, often erroneously described as an enlargement of bone or tissue around the joint at the head of the big toe.
Hallux valgus (bunion) orthotic treatment
Orthotics are splints or regulators while conservative measures include various footwear like gelled toe spacers, bunion / toes separators, bunion regulators, bunion splints, and bunion cushions. There is a variety of available orthotics (or orthoses) including over-the-counter or off-the-shelf commercial products and as necessary, custom-molded orthotics that are generally prescribed medical devices.
Hallux valgus - What is bunion?
There is disagreement among medical professionals about the cause of bunions; some see them as primarily caused by the long-term use of shoes, particularly tight-fitting shoes with pointed toes, while others believe that the problem stems from genetic factors that are exacerbated by shoe use. Bunions occur when pressure is applied to the side of the big toe (hallux) forcing it inwards towards, and sometimes under or over, the other toes (angulation). As pressure is applied, the tissues surrounding the joint may become swollen and tender. In a survey of people from cultures that do not wear shoes, no cases of bunions were found, lending credence to the hypothesis that bunions are caused by ill-fitting shoes.
The bump itself is partly due to the swollen bursal sac or an osseous (bony) anomaly on the mesophalangeal joint (where the first metatarsal bone and hallux meet). The larger part of the bump is a normal part of the head of the first metatarsal bone that has tilted sideways to stick out at its top.
Symptoms of bunion (hallux valgus)
The symptoms of bunions include irritated skin around the bunion, pain when walking, joint redness and pain, and possible shift of the big toe toward the other toes. Blisters may form more easily around the site of the bunion as well.
Having bunions can also make it more difficult to find shoes that fit properly; bunions may force a person to have to buy a larger size shoe to accommodate the width the bunion creates. When bunion deformity becomes severe enough, the foot can hurt in different places even without the constriction of shoes because it then becomes a mechanical function problem of the forefoot.
Bunions may be treated conservatively with changes in shoe gear, different orthotics (accommodative padding and shielding), rest, ice, and medications. These sorts of treatments address symptoms more than they correct the actual deformity. Surgery, by an orthopedic surgeon or a podiatric surgeon, may be necessary if discomfort is severe enough or when correction of the deformity is desired.