THEY MAKE YOU FEEL TALLER, SLIMMER... EVEN POWERFUL. But you know they are wreaking havoc on your feet. That “bump” outside your big toe seems to be growing larger and becoming more painful, right? It’s called a bunion, and while your power pumps aren’t causing it, they are aggravating and making it worse. You have your family and your XX chromosomes to thank for developing the bunion. Women are anywhere from two to nine times more likely to develop a bunion than men! Bummer. Or not … you can Beat Bunion Blues! Wilmington Wound Care and Podiatry Center is a bunion expert — with highly advanced medical and surgical training in diagnosing and treating bunions. Call us today for an evaluation... no need to suffer in silence!
What is a bunion?
A hallux abducto valgus deformity, commonly called a bunion, is a deformity characterized by lateral deviation of the great toe, often described as an enlargement of bone or tissue around the joint at the head of the big toe.
There is disagreement among medical professionals about the cause of bunions; some see them as primarily caused by the long-term use of shoes, particularly tight-fitting shoes with pointed toes, while others believe that the problem stems from genetic factors that are exacerbated by shoe use — we think it's probably a bit of both.
Bunions occur when pressure is applied to the side of the big toe (hallux) forcing it inwards towards, and sometimes under or over, the other toes. As pressure is applied, the tissues surrounding the joint may become swollen and tender. In a survey of people from cultures that do not wear shoes, no cases of bunions were found, lending credence to the hypothesis that bunions are caused by ill-fitting shoes. The bump itself is partly due to the swollen bursal sac or an osseous (bony) anomaly on the metatarsophalangeal joint. The larger part of the bump is a normal part of the head of the first metatarsal bone that has tilted sideways to stick out at its top.
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. Having bunions can also make it more difficult to find shoes that fit properly; bunions may force a person to have to buy a larger size shoe to accommodate the width the bunion creates. When bunion deformity becomes severe enough, the foot can hurt in different places even without the constriction of shoes because it then becomes a mechanical function problem of the forefoot.
Bunions may be treated conservatively with changes in shoe gear, different orthotics, rest, ice and medications. These sorts of treatments address symptoms more than they correct the actual deformity. Surgery may be necessary if discomfort is severe enough or when correction of the deformity is desired. The age, health, lifestyle and activity level of the patient may also play a role in the choice of procedure. Traditional bunion surgery can be performed under local, spinal or general anesthetic. A patient can expect a 6- to 8-week recovery period during which crutches are usually required for aid in mobility. An orthopedic cast is much less common today as newer, more stable procedures and better forms of fixation (stabilizing the bone with screws and other hardware) are used.