Bunions

With Bay Cluster Network

There are many problems that can affect our feet. Some problems can arise from the foot itself for example an injury or others can occur in the bone, joint, muscle, tendon or ligament of the foot.

A bunion (hallux valgus) is a bony lump that forms on the joint of the base of your big toe. This occurs when some of the bones in the foot move out of place. This results in the big toe pointing inward to the other toes. It is also possible to get smaller bunions (bunionettes) which develop on the joint of the little toe.

Factors that contribute to bunion formation:-

  • Excessive rolling inward (pronation) of the foot
  • Wearing tight and pointed shoes
  • Occasionally injury

Signs and symptoms of a bunion include:-

  • Bulging bump on outside of base of big toe
  • Swelling, redness and soreness around the joint
  • Limited range of movement of toe
  • Osteoarthritis (wear and tear of the joint) may also occur
  • Bursa (fluid filled sac) can also develop and become painful
  • Corns or calluses can develop where the second and third toes rub together

Causes

There are many theories about how bunions develop but the exact cause is largely unknown.

A few possibilities include:-

  • Foot stress or injuries
  • Inherited foot type

Risk factors

These factors might increase your risk of developing bunions:-

  • Ill-fitting shoes
  • High heels – these force your toes into the front of the shoe
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Heredity

Bunions can cause complications. A few examples of the complications are:-

  • Bursitis as mentioned earlier is a fluid filled sac that develops around the joint and can be very painful
  • Hammertoe is an abnormal bend in the middle joint of the toe and can cause pain and pressure
  • Metartasalgia – this condition causes pain and swelling in the ball of the foot

Management of bunions

Whilst you cannot get rid of bunions or stop them getting worse there are things you can do to relieve any pain. These include:-

  • Wear well-fitting shoes with a low heel
  • Use an ice pack
  • Try bunion pads which can be bought over the counter. Insoles and toe spacers can also be used
  • You may be referred to a surgeon if the bunions are very painful, getting worse and having a big effect on your life.

You should see the GP if:-

  • The pain is getting worse or persisting after trying home treatments
  • The pain is affecting your normal activities

Our feet are considered the foundation of our body, so we understand that problems with them can impact on us on a daily basis. If you are concerned that you may have bunions and wish to discuss the most appropriate treatment options, then please contact your GP.

 

 

All Articles