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The medical term for bunions is called ‘Hallux Abducto Valgus". In plain terms, the distal end of the 1st metatarsal deviates to the medial foot, while the distal aspect of the big toe, or hallux, deviates laterally, forming a bump at the 1st MTPJ. The bump is medial at the 1st MTPJ in a bunion, while it is dorsal in a hallux rigidus or limitus case. Causes include tight shoe gear and a pes planus valgus foot type.

An X-ray is necessary to diagnose and classify the bunion. A bunion may be classified as mild, moderate or severe based on specific parameters your physician will discuss with you. Conservative treatments include wider shoe gear, or custom orthotics. However, since it is an osseous deformity, the deformity progresses with time and surgery is the only option to ‘correct’ it. Many patients do well with conservative treatment, but those who do not have any surgical options available to them that the physician will discuss to suit them.

Bunions (FAQs)

What are bunions?
A bunion is a bony bump that forms at the base of the big toe joint. It is considered a deformity, as it changes the shape of the feet, creating a protruding bump on the side of the foot while pushing the big toe towards the smaller toes next to it. Bunions can be painful, red, tender, and stiff. They may restrict the range of motion of the affected toe and tend to develop corns and calluses over the top of the bump.
What causes bunions?
Bunions may have a variety of potential causes. They may be caused by wearing tight, narrow, ill-fitting shoes over long periods of time or from inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. Genetics may also play a role, as some people inherit foot shapes and structures that are more likely to develop bunions.
How can you stop bunions from getting worse?
Early detection and treatment is key to slowing or stopping the progression of a bunion. Your podiatrist will likely recommend footwear modifications, such as wearing wider, more comfortable shoes or custom orthotics that support the foot and give the toes room. Special bunion pads can be used to relieve pain and pressure over the bunion, while over-the-counter medications or ice can be used to reduce inflammation.
Is it possible to remove a bunion?
Bunions can be permanently removed through a surgical procedure known as a bunionectomy. During this surgery, the doctor may cut, realign, or remove portions of bones, ligaments, and tendons to get rid of the bunion. This is typically an outpatient procedure, which means that you get to go home the same day as the surgery.


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