What are Bunions?

A bunion,  or Hallux Valgus, is a foot deformity characterised by deviation of the bones around the big toe joint of the foot.

As a result there is a large bony lump or exostosis on the inside of the foot and the toe is pointed across towards the smaller toes.

It is a common problem, more so in women and has been attributed to tight fitting footwear.

There are many factors which can contribute to the development of a bunion.

Common causes include:

  • genetic factors;
  • poor foot mechanics;
  • high-heeled or narrow footwear; and
  • trauma to the toe.    
 
 
  • Why do Bunions Occur?
  • It is believed that constant stress on the joint of the big toe causes mild displacement of the bones and the joint, along with thickening of the tissues and a change in the pull of the muscles.

    This can result in a degree of arthritis of the joint, and over time, further displacement of the toe.

    This may lead to pain, difficultly with fitting shoes and corns/calloused lesions due to excess pressure on the smaller digits.

Clinical features of Bunions

Patients complain of a cosmetically deformed foot, along with some skin changes which occur due to constant irritation.

You may also find that pain and redness of the joints occur.

When you have bunions you can find footwear is difficult to fit due to the deformity and pain is often exacerbated with physical activity.

Some patients may even experience pain and difficulty with simple walking.


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