What is Bunion?
A Bunion is one of the most common foot ailments which usually occur near the joint at the base of the big toe. It is actually a bony protrusion which consists of excess or misaligned bone in the joint. Although they may develop on the fifth or little toe, bunions usually occur at the base of the big toe. In addition to causing pain, a bunion changes the shape of your foot, making it harder to find shoes that fit. The good news; however, is that you don’t have to hobble for the rest of your life, bunions can be treated.
Types of Bunions
There are several types of bun- ions.
Positional bunion forms from the growth of a new bone. With positional bunions, the joint enlarges as new bone grows. This stretches the joint’s outer covering. Force created by the stretching pushes the big toe toward the smaller toes. Eventually, the inside tendons tighten, pulling the big toe further out of alignment.
Structural bunions result when the joint at the base of the toe shifts position. With structural bunions, the angle between the bones of the first and second toes is greater than nor- mal which causes the big toe to slant toward the smaller toes. In severe cases, this may cause the second and third toes to buckle.
Many bunions are a combination of both types.
In most cases, bunions are caused by genetics and incorrect foot mechanics. The foot may flatten too much, forcing the toe joint to move beyond normal range. In some cases, arthritis or an injury produces a bunion. In other cases people are simply born with extra bone near a toe joint.
Tight fitting shoes further complicate the condition. Shoes such as high heels are particularly damaging to the toes. These shoes have a sloping foot piece and a narrow toe box. The slope causes the front of the foot to be pushed with force into the narrow toe box. The narrow toe box causes the toes to become squeezed together. Depending on factors such as duration of wearing constraining footwear, skeletal maturity, and individual factors, the toes can be- come permanently adapted to the new position and lead to the formation of a bunion. Once a bunion forms, the mechanics of the feet and toes are altered. Tendons begin to pull the toe into an abnormal position, and the problem tends to progress over time.
Foot Centers of NC treats all types of foot ailments including bunions. To determine the best treatment plan for your particular condition our podiatrists will ask you some questions about your pain. They may also test how far and how smoothly the affected joints moves, and watch how your feet rotate and flatten as you walk. X-rays may also be taken of your foot to show the position of the big toe joint. This allows the doctors to see whether the bunion is affecting other bones in your foot.
When a bunion is not severe, the problem may be corrected by wearing a different style of shoes. Or you may be prescribed custom—made shoe inserts (orthoses) to control incorrect foot mechanics.
For severe bunions, outpatient surgery may be recommended. Within hours after surgery, you’ll be on your way home and ready for recovery. Your foot will be bandaged following surgery and placed in a surgical shoe which allows you to remain mobile. Immediate weight bearing without the use of casting or crutches is standard post- operative recovery for bunions. In most cases, the majority of healing should occur within a few weeks and you can resume normal activity within a short period of time. Bun- ion surgery can both reduce pain and improve the appearance of your feet.
After surgery it is important to see your podiatrist as scheduled and follow all recovery instructions.