A bunion is a bump on the joint at the base of the big toe, the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint, that forms when the bone or tissue at the big toe joint moves out of place. The toe is forced to bend toward the others, causing an often painful lump of bone on the foot. Because this joint carries a lot of the body’s weight while walking, bunions can become very painful. A bunion can also develop on the outside of the foot next to the little toe, where it is called a “bunionette” or “tailor’s bunion”.
Bunions are brought about by years of abnormal motion and pressure over the MTP joint. They are therefore a symptom of faulty foot development and are usually caused by the way we walk and our inherited foot type or our shoes.
Although bunions tend to run in families, it is the foot type that is passed down, not the bunion. Children can inherit a problematic foot type from their parents and are then prone to developing bunions.
People who suffer from flat feet or low arches may be prone to developing these problems, as are arthritic patients and those with inflammatory joint disease. Occupations that place undue stress on the feet may also be a factor; ballet dancers, for instance, often develop the condition.
Wearing shoes that are too tight or that cause the toes to be squeezed together is thought to be factor, one that explains the high prevalence of the disorder among women.
The symptoms of a bunion include the following:
- Development of a firm bump on the outside edge of the foot, at the base of the big toe
- Redness, swelling, or pain at or near the MTP joint
- Corns or other irritations caused by the overlap of the first and second toes
- Restricted or painful motion of the big toe
At Ned Buckley Podiatry, our treatments for bunions include:
- Orthotic therapy
- Footwear advice
- Pain management
- Padding and strapping techniques
- Surgical advice including diagnosis, evaluation, discussion of procedures
- Surgical referral
- Pre and post-surgical support
- Post operative management.
Treatment options vary with the type and severity of each bunion; identifying the deformity early in its development may help to avoid surgery in the future. The primary goal of most early treatment options is to relieve pressure on the bunion and institute measures to halt the progression of the joint deformity.
When a bunion has progressed to a certain point, or is causing ongoing pain despite conservative treatments sometimes the best solution is a surgical solution. The surgery for bunions has come a long way in recent years, and in many cases, and no longer requires lengthy time of your feet in recovery, in fact sometimes people are walking the same day of the surgery.
Following surgery, the aftercare is very important and at Ned Buckley Podiatry we provide options for aftercare for all of our patients.