What is a Bunion?
A bunion is also known as a hallux valgus deformity. As a bunion develops, the first metatarsal bone begins to angle outward while the great toe, the hallux, moves in the direction of the second toe. This deformity gradually worsens over time.
A common misconception is that tight shoes lead to bunions. While tight shoes can make a bunion worse, they rarely are the initial cause. If you have a bunion, blame your family. Bunions seem to be inherited. Some people are simply born with a foot type that will develop this problem.
A bunion is one of the most common deformities found in the feet. Because of the progressive nature of this problem, a bunion left untreated can lead to enough pain and disability to make walking difficult.
Bunion (Hallux Valgus) Treatment
In the early stages of this problem, conservative, non-surgical treatments are often the best approach. These treatments include wearing shoes with a wider toe box and using custom shoe inserts called orthotic devices. The custom inserts helps to re-position the foot inside the shoe to take pressure away from the bunion prominence. These treatments are aimed at increasing comfort and perhaps slowing the progression of this deformity. Only surgery can correct this problem.
When Does a Bunion Need Surgery?
The following are the guidelines our doctors use to help patients determine when a bunion surgery is needed:
- You have pain on a regular basis.
- You have stopped doing things you want to do because of the pain from the bunion. For
example, you would like to walk for exercise, but you know your foot will hurt.
- You have signs of arthritis in the big toe joint. These signs include:
- – pain deep in the big toe joint
- – pain when moving your big toe up and down
- – experiencing pain even when you are not wearing shoes
In a foot with a bunion deformity, the abnormal alignment of the big toe puts too much pressure
on the joint cartilage and this can cause arthritis. This joint change is progressive. When arthritis is present, delaying surgery can decrease your
chances of a successful outcome.
We Can Help
If you think you or someone in your family has a bunion, please call us at (317) 573-4250. Doctors Helms, Bowers, or Higgins can help you determine the best course of action to keep you active and help you achieve pain free feet.