A bunion is a prominance or bony malalignment of the first and/or fifth toe joints.
If this prominance occurs at the base of the first toe it is called a "Hallux Abducto Valgus" deformity. This is where the first toe is angulated away from the midline of the body toward the other smaller toes.
One which forms around the base of the fifth toe is commonly called a "Tailors bunion" .
The cause of bunions arises from the inability of the first or fifth toe joints to function as they normally should. This incorrect foot function may be the result of:
Symptoms experienced will vary from person to person. They commonly include pain, swelling and redness around the joints affected.
Not all deformities will become painful, whereas in some people, certain arthritic conditions can cause severe bunion pain.
Ill-fitting shoes (i.e. too narrow or excessively tight) DO NOT cause bunions, but they can aggravate and irritate the skin and can certainly hasten their onset if one is predisposed to its formation.
Treatment involves a combined approach of many factors including:
1. Strengthening exercises of specific foot muscles.
2. Stretching of specific muscles, sometimes with the aid of a bunion splint is also helpful.
3. Footwear analysis is very important.
4. Joint mobilization may be utilized in some situations.
5. Orthoses are used to assist in realigning the feet into a better functioning position and help to prevent the excessive abnormal movement through the feet.
6. Bunion surgery may be advised if conservative treatment fails to provide satisfactory treatment results. Surgery can be beneficial when conservative measures fail to provide sufficient relief, however there are risks involved. Surgical options should be discussed with your Podiatrist following thorough examination.
WARNING : This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace professional podiatric advice. Treatment will vary between individuals depending upon your diagnosis and presenting complaint. An accurate diagnosis can only be made following personal consultation with a Podiatrist, your Doctor or your foot specialist.
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