Bunions: What Are They and What Treatment is Available?
Hi, Leah here from Pivotal Podiatry Clinic. Whether you're looking bunion treatment in Melbourne or to learn what are bunions, the Podiatrists at our clinic are professionally trained to help you solve your bunion problems. Feel free to book an appointment to discuss your specific bunion problems by calling our reception on 9939 3339 or by booking online here.
What are Bunions?
A bunion, or Hallux Valgus, is a foot deformity characterised by deviation of the bones around the big toe joint of the foot.
As a result there is a large bony lump or exostosis on the inside of the foot and the toe is pointed across towards the smaller toes.
It is a common problem, more so in women and has been attributed to tight fitting footwear.
This article will cover the basics of bunions, what causes bunions and what treatment is available for patients with Bunions .
What Causes Bunions?
There are many factors which can contribute to the development of a bunion...
...common causes include genetic factors, poor foot mechanics, high-heeled or narrow footwear and trauma to the toe.
Why do Bunions Occur?
It is believed that constant stress on the joint of the big toe causes mild displacement of the bones and the joint, along with thickening of the tissues and a change in the pull of the muscles.
This can result in a degree of arthritis of the joint, and over time, further displacement of the toe.
This may lead to pain, difficultly with fitting shoes and corns/calloused lesions due to excess pressure on the smaller digits.
Clinical features of Bunions
Patients complain of a cosmetically deformed foot, along with some skin changes which occur due to constant irritation.
You may also find that pain and redness of the joints occur.
When you have bunions you can find footwear is difficult to fit due to the deformity and pain is often exacerbated with physical activity.
Some patients may even experience pain and difficulty with simple walking.
How are Bunions Diagnosed?
Most patients are diagnosed to have bunions from clinical assessment.
However, in some cases, X-rays will be performed to determine the extent of damage to the joint.
Furthermore, it will enable the treating doctor to decide on the best course of management of the patient.
- Wearing appropriate footwear
This is probably the most important step.
Wearing the right footwear can help reduce stress on a minor deformity and reduce the likelihood of it progressing.
Recommendations are that the forefoot easily fits within the width of the shoe and there is adequate cushioning and arch support.
Soft materials such as smooth leather, suede or fabric will also help to reduce irritation to the area.
- Podiatrist Bunion Treatment Plan
The podiatrist plays an invaluable role in managing patients with bunions.
This is because they can offer a number of options to the patient that can help relieve pain and reduce the severity of the deformity.
They can also reduce pressure on skin lesions that develop as a result of the biomechanical changes.
Podiatrists can prescribe customised orthotic devices that help reduce the stress on a bunion and control biomechanical factors which cause them.
These may be used in conjunction with bunion splints or cushions to further offload the area.
Evidence has shown a significant reduction in pain with the use of customized orthotic devices.
b. Podiatric Bunion Surgery
This involves surgically correcting the deformity and can involve a variety of different methods.
However, outcomes can be variable.
This is very dependant of the amount of damage to the joint and the procedure used to correct it.
Removal of the bunion is performed using different methods that are out of the scope of this article.
Unfortunately, bunions can recur following surgery, and even if it surgery is successful, around 30% of patients still report existing difficulties.
Further Information for Bunions on Feet
Conclusion on Bunions
Bunions are a common problem, particularly amongst women who wear narrow or high-heeled footwear...
..bunions are accompanied with a lot pain and discomfort, and can be a rather frustrating condition to have over time.
Unfortunately with Bunions, the condition can recur, so there is no doubt in the case of bunions, that prevention is better than cure!
Podiatrists play an important role in management of patients with bunions, especially with the prescription of custom fitted orthotics.
If you're suffering from bunions and are looking for bunion treatment in Melbourne, please call the clinic and book an appointment.