A bunion, also known as hallux valgus, is bony prominence at the base of the big toe, which often results in pain, redness and rubbing against footwear. The 1st metatarsal bone abnormally angles outward towards the other foot from its midfoot joint. A bunion can change the shape of your foot, make it difficult for you to find shoes that fit correctly and worsen the symptoms if left untreated.
Although it is not clearly understood why bunions occur, possible causes include:
The main indication of a bunion is the pointing of the big toe towards the other toes of the foot. Other signs and symptoms include:
The diagnosis of a bunion includes taking a medical history, and performing a physical examination to assess the extent of misalignment and damage to the soft tissues. Your doctor will usually order weight bearing X-rays (i.e. taken while standing) to access the severity of the bunion and deformity of the toe joints.
Your doctor will initially recommend conservative treatment measures with the goal of reducing or eliminating your foot pain.
Such measures can include:
Conservative treatment measures can help relieve the discomfort of a bunion, however these measures will not prevent the bunion from becoming worse.
Surgery is the only means of correcting a bunion. Surgery is also recommended when conservative measures fail to treat the symptoms of bunion. The best person to perform this surgery is an orthopaedic Surgeon with a special interest in disorders of the foot and ankle.
There are many surgical options to treat a bunion. The common goal is to realign the bones in the foot, correct the deformity, and relieve pain and discomfort. The surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure, under the effect of a light general anesthetic and a regional nerve block. When you wake up, you will not be in pain and will be able to walk on your foot right away.
There are 3 main types of osteotomies used by foot and ankle surgeons; namely akin osteotomy, chevron osteotomy, and scarf osteotomy.