A bunion is also referred to as Hallux Valgus, which is a bump that appears inside the foot, around the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint (near the big toe). This bump is a bone that is protruding towards the inside of the big foot. If a bunion in is left untreated, it can cause severe pain and even hinder walking abilities. Women commonly suffer from bunions, but men can, too. Most people will develop bunions from wearing poor-fitting shoes, but they can also be passed down genetically.
Bunions typically develop when the weight of your body falls unevenly on the joints and tendons in your feet. This is usually caused by shoes that do not fit properly or genetic deformities. The most common types of bunions include:
- Tailor’s bunion: Also called a bunionette, Tailor’s bunions occur when the smallest toe starts to expand outward, forming a bony growth near the little toe.
- Acute bunion: This condition causes bone masses to form near the toe joints as a result of bursitis.
- Adolescent bunion: Teenagers may develop a bunion at the base of his or her big toe. This bunion may cause pain and can get worse over time without treatment.
If left untreated, bunions can become so painful you might end up walking differently just to relieve the pressure. Bunions can seriously affect the foot’s ability to function properly.
To treat bunions we will begin with conservative methods designed to relieve pressure and restore function. The most common conservative approaches to finding bunion relief include:
- Shoe choice: Choose shoes with wide insteps, broad toes, and soft soles while avoiding shoes that are narrow, tight, or sharply pointed.
- Custom orthotics: In order to relieve pressure from the affected areas, your doctor may recommend custom shoe inserts.
- Forefoot products: Products like a bunion shield, night splint or bunion bandage may be prescribed to treat bunions.
Conservative approaches like these are designed to limit the progression of the bunion, relieve pain, and provide a healthy environment for the foot. In more serious cases, bunion surgery may be recommended.