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Hallux valgus (bunion)

Last update: 15 February 2020

Hallux valgus (bunion)

Hallux abducto valgus (bunion)

Do you have a bump on the side of your big toe that makes it difficult to wear shoes? Does this bump also make your big toe larger at the base? Do you feel inflammatory joint pain? If so, don’t wait too long to consult a podiatrist, because you are probably suffering from a bunion (hallux abducto valgus).

Symptoms of bunions

Even if, initially, the bunion is painless, do not be fooled. Hallux abducto valgus triggers several symptoms ranging from pain to ingrown toenails and other foot issues. Here are just a few of them.

  • Appearance of a bump at the base of the big toe, created by the joint’s characteristic deviation
  • The big toe begins to lean towards the second toe
  • Stiffness and soreness is felt when the big toe is moved up or down
  • Difficulty putting on shoes (widening of the forefoot)
  • Second toe transforms into a “claw toe”
  • Joint pain (arthrosis)
  • Bursitis
  • Callus (on the second toe and sole of the foot)
  • Ingrown toenails

Causes

Several causes can explain the appearance of bunions. These may include family history, wearing inappropriate footwear, a person’s age, etc. Below are some of the causes often observed in practice by podiatrists.

  • Flat feet
  • Hereditary factors
  • Wearing shoes that are too narrow
  • Overly long big toe (Egyptian foot)
  • Ligamentous laxity (overly flexible ligaments)
  • High arches and an overly mobile foot structure (high arches that collapse when walking)
  • Pregnancy or menopause (causes the arches to collapse, broadening the front portions of the feet)
  • Various mechanical factors: hyperpronation, hypermobility of the foot, arch too high or too low

Preventing bunions

It is important to take care of your feet on a daily basis. This is also the best way to prevent bunions from appearing. Of course, if you have certain podiatric conditions you are susceptible to, you need to be even more careful.

  • Choose shoes that fit properly: make sure there is enough room so your toes can move freely. Leave those pointy shoes that crush your feet in the cupboard.
  • Have a podiatrist examine your feet: as soon as you feel the symptoms of a bunion, don’t wait to make an appointment.
  • Act quickly: if bunions are hereditary in your family, remain vigilant. Don’t wait for your bunion to progress to an advanced stage.

Treatment

Bunions can be treated using less invasive methods. Of course, basic foot care conditions should be improved. Sometimes this works with the following methods.

  • Wearing appropriate footwear
  • Diligently performing exercises prescribed by your podiatrist
  • Manual foot therapy

Podiatrist care

When the methods suggested above are not enough to relieve your bunion, you must seek help from your podiatrist, who will be able to suggest various treatment plans to cure your hallux abducto valgus.

  • Plantar orthoses
  • Treating calluses (if present)
  • Cortisone injection (when the joint is affected)
  • Surgery

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