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Bunion-Hallux Valgus

What is it?

A bunion is a deformity characterized an enlargement of bone or tissue around the joint at the base of the big toe. This enlargement casues lateral deviation of the great toe often forcing it towards and sometimes under or over adjacent toes. Hallux Valgus is the name used for the deviated position of the big toe and a bunion refers to the enlargement of the joint – most of the time the two go together and can just be referred to as ‘bunions’.

Bunions are a progressive deformity, and if left untreated the bump may become larger.

Bunions most commonly affect women. Some studies report that bunions occur nearly ten times more frequently in women than men.

Causes:

  • foot pathologies causing pronation (inward rolling motion of the foot)
  • tight fitting shoes
  • high heeled shoes
  • inherited (genetic) factors that predispose a person to the development of bunions, especially when they occur in younger individuals.

 

 

How can we help?

  • Perform biomechanical gait assessment
  • Educate patients about appropriate footwear selection regarding fit, function and support.
  • Modify footwear as required
  • Fabricate custom made orthotics which can slow or halt the progression of bunions by addressing the instability which causes the deformity (orthotics cannot reduce the pre-existing bony deformity)
  • Manage skin changes due to external pressure – once assessed by our podiatrist

If the foot is not re-balanced, the deformity and pain will become worse. Keep in mind, however, that putting an orthotic into a poor quality, or worn out shoe will greatly reduce the effectiveness of the orthotic.