Hallux valgus (bunion of the big toe)


Feet | Podiatry - Podiatric Medicine | Hallux valgus (bunion of the big toe) (Disease)


Description

A bunion (hallux valgus) is a deformity characterized by lateral deviation of the great toe, often erroneously described as an enlargement of bone or tissue around the joint at the head of the big toe (metatarsophalangeal joint). As the great toe (hallux) turns in toward the second toe (angulation) the tissues surrounding the joint may become swollen and tender.

The symptoms of bunions include irritated skin around the bunion, pain when walking, joint redness and pain, and possible shift of the big toe toward the other toes. Blisters may form more easily around the site of the bunion as well.

Causes and Risk factors

Bunions often occur when the joint is stressed over a prolonged period. Ninety percent of bunions occur in women, primarily because women may be more likely to wear tight, pointed, and confining shoes. Bunions may be inherited as a family trait. Bunions may also result from arthritis, which often affects the big toe joint.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Initial treatment of bunions may include wearing comfortable, well-fitting footwear (particularly shoes that conform to the shape of the foot and do not cause pressure areas) or the use of splints and orthotics (special shoe inserts shaped to your feet) to reposition the big toe. For bunions caused by arthritis, medications may help reduce pain and swelling. If nonsurgical treatment fails, your doctor may suggest surgery, which resolves the problem in nearly all persons.

Treatment for a bunion may include cold compresses, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain, orthotics, and bunion pads. Some may benefit from surgery. ...