Auteur: Podiatre Montreal
A bunion is an abnormal angular bump in the bottom joint of the big toe. This joint becomes enlarged, forcing all the toes of the foot to pile up. This, in turn, puts pressure on the big toe joint, pushing it outward and beyond the regular profile of the foot. This can lead to pain and restlessness.
Bunions occur for several reasons, but the most common cause is wearing tight shoes. Bunions can also be the product of an inherited structural defect, tension or stress on the foot, or could also be the result of a medical condition, such as arthritis.
Often, treatment will involve conservative measures that may include purchasing more comfortable shoes, padding shoes (to protect the bunion), or wearing insoles. In the most severe cases, relief of bunion pain may only come in the form of surgery.
Symptoms of bunions
Symptoms most often occur when wearing ill-fitting shoes that cause the toes to pile up. This probably explains why women are more likely to develop bunions than men. In addition, standing for long periods of time can aggravate symptoms.
Symptoms of bunions can include :
- Irritated, red, or calloused skin on the inside edge of your big toe.
- a bone protrusion on the big toe
- Pain or discomfort in the joint, which is aggravated by pressure from footwear.
- the big toe turns outward, i.e. towards the other toes
The presence of an onion is very apparent. The protrusion on the lower part of the big toe is clearly visible. In order to examine the condition completely, our doctor would take x-rays to assess the severity of the deformity and determine the extent of the changes to the foot.
Due to the fact that onions always grow gradually, an onion will not disappear on its own, and the condition will only worsen over time. Once our doctor has performed a complete examination of the onion, treatment plans can be developed to meet your individual needs.
The treatment of bunions
Bunions often respond well to more conservative treatment such as changing shoes, different orthotics, ice, rest and medication. However, these treatments only address the symptoms, and do not correct the deformity. Our doctor will work with you to assess the severity of your condition and determine if surgery will be necessary.
Orthotics – Orthotics offer several conservative measures to alleviate tension on the toe. These include gel toe spacers, bunion splints, bunion toe separators and bunion pads.
Surgery – There are surgical procedures that are designed to correct a variety of conditions associated with bunions. For example, surgical procedures allow for a combination of the following corrections:
- elimination of the angular anomaly located on the big toe;
- realignment of the big toe in relation to the adjacent toe;
- the straightening of the big toe in relation to the adjacent toes;
- realignment of the cartilage surfaces in the big toe joint;
- examination of arthritic changes associated with the big toe joint;
- the repositioning of the sesamoid bones, which are located under the big toe;
- lengthening, shortening, lowering or raising of the big toe;
- and the correction of any abnormal arch or misalignment on the inside of the big toe.
A person’s age, lifestyle, activity level, and health status can also be a determining factor.
Local, general and spinal anesthetics are all available for hallux valgus surgery. The most common anesthetic tends to be the least invasive form; local anesthetic. The average recovery time after such a procedure is three to six weeks, and at the beginning of the recovery period, crutches may be required to assist the patient’s mobility.2021