Bunion Halux Valgus

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Bunions are an ailment which can be avoided.

My father followed a fashion trend in the 1960s and wore shoes which were nick-named winkle pickers due to the pointed toe area designed into the shoe. Winkle-picker style shoes were a hot fashion for girls and guys and it spawned a generation of people destined to be afflicted by painful bunions because they wore the shoes constantly. Many times I heard him complaining about bunion pains and my mom telling him it was because of those shoes, she was right. The shoe’s looked cool in the 60s but the price to pay was bunions. The fashion changed with the arrival of the 1970s, round toe shoe areas came back into fashion, but many from that generation felt the pain of bunions for many years, despite changing over to less restrictive shoes.

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Imagine your toes in these. Nice shoes but wear them sensibly.

Why is your foot restricting you? Because there is a protrusion on the side of your big toe that is making it very difficult to wear the shoe. This is not an uncommon trait for many individuals. Many people have a bone deformity that is known as  “bunions”.

Women are more prone to developing bunions than men and this is primarily due to the style of shoes that women usually wear. Pointed shoes, stilettos, and other curvature shoes are the leading culprit for women to develop bunions.  However, men are able to develop bunions and they develop it more from poor dieting of from a foot injury they may have sustained from either their career or from sports that they may have engaged in. In the end, bunions are not uncommon and many people develop this condition.

As you continue to read this article you will learn about the many ways that a person may develop a bunion along with the may treatments and the prevention that are available to deal with bunions. Because bunions are so common there have been adequate amounts of research and studies that have allowed treating and preventing a bunion to be quite easy to heal.  Lastly, as you continue to read this article you will be “pointed” in the right direction to hopefully treat your bunion.

What is a Bunion?

A bunion is a foot deformity that shifts the big toe bone towards the other toes and allows for the bone to extend out and form a bump near the big toe region. This deformity is considered by many to be unsightly – and along with being visually unappealing it also causes severe pain for some individuals.

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Bunions make it difficult for people to find the right shoes and also make it very difficult to walk and stand upright in certain shoes because of the shift of the bone in the big toe region. Because of this, a person may need to purchase specialized shoes to handle their everyday activity.

If left untreated or if no steps are taken to try and alleviate the pain the bunion can cause other conditions. The risk factors of having a bunion will be discussed in later sections in the article.

What are the symptoms of Bunions?

Since bunions are visibly noticeable it is not that difficult to see the symptoms. You will most likely be able to determine if you have a bunion yourself, however, there are some symptoms that will fully squash any doubts you may have about if you have developed a bunion or not. These signs/ symptoms are:

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  • There will be a bulging bump on the outside of your big toe
  • There may be swelling around the big toe region
  • The toe region will have some level of redness due to the swelling
  • The big toe region may also be very sore and tender
  • You may have developed a corn or a callus
  • There will be some level of pain that ranges from persistent pain to intermittent pain
  • The big toe will have limited movement due to the big toe being bent and no longer straight

If you have experienced any of these symptoms or see any signs that you may be developing a bunion it is important to immediately take the necessary steps to further prevent the bunion from getting worse.

What Causes Bunions to form?

There are a few factors that can cause a person to have a bunion. The most prominent causes for individuals to develop a bunion/ or bunions is due to; years of abnormal motions and extreme amounts of pressure on the foot are some of the major causes for an individual to develop a bunion. However, there are a few more causes that may be factors for a person to develop a bunion.  These are some of the ways a person may develop a bunion:

The Style of shoe

Shoes are a huge factor for why a person may develop a bunion. For many women, this is perhaps one of the major reasons they have developed a bunion (outside of it being hereditary). This is due to the shoe slowly but repeatedly pushing the big toe bone in a direction that is no longer straight. Because of this, it is important that you wear shoes that support your foot and are comfortable to wear.

Aside from not only forcing the big toe in a direction that is not in its normal state – wearing shoes that look good but aren’t comfortable for the foot can lead to other health problems. It has long been researched that certain shoes can have an adverse effect on ones’ overall health.

Arthritis

Arthritis is also a factor that may lead to a person to develop bunions. This is due to the fact that arthritis is a bone disease that causes inflammation of the bone. Arthritis in an individual may also be hereditary but may also arise because of a poor diet.

Source: Medical News Today

Arthritis has become a very prevalent condition in society. However, like bunions, there are significant amounts of research and studies that have shown how to prevent arthritis and if one has developed arthritis to treat it.

This is important to know because if the cause of the bunion is due to arthritis then you will be capable of treating arthritis and thus treat the bunion in the process.

A Foot Injury   Foot injuries are not uncommon. Depending on the injury and the circumstances surrounding the accident that caused the injury a person may develop a bunion as a result.    A ballet dancer is much more prone to developing bunions due to a large amount of stress they place on their feet.

Running in bad shoes   The style of shoe an individual may be wearing while running can also be a leading factor into why a person has developed a bunion. For many individuals who enjoy running for either a hobby or just a sport, it is recommended that they wear shoes that will allow them a high level of breathability and space in the toe guard to avoid developing a bunion.  For many runners the amount space in the toe guard is important.

“Run’s in the family”   A person may have developed a bunion because it may be a hereditary trait in individuals family. Just like arthritis and other conditions, bunions too can be caused by a person genes.  Luckily, though there are several treatments and operations that can help to remove the bunion.

Congenital Deformity Sometimes a birth may cause a newborn to develop a bunion. This is not uncommon because there are numerous birth deformities that occur.  There are numerous factors that may lead to a person developing a bunion. However, as you continue to read this article you will learn about the many treatments that are available to treat a bunion. Although this is an unsightly deformity it is a deformity that can easily be treated and more importantly it is a deformity that can easily be prevented; if the individual was not born with this particular deformity or if it doesn’t run in the family.

Risk Factors of having a Bunion  If the bunion is not treated effectively than it is possible that the bunion can lead to more severe conditions. There are certain factors that will improve the risk of gaining bunions and these factors include:

High Heels  The shoes a person wears are the number one factor outside of heredity that causes a person to develop a bunion.  Wearing shoes like heel or stilettos cause a person to develop bunions because it forces the big toe and the toes to force in a certain positioning.

Narrow Shoes  As mentioned earlier narrow shoes can cause a person to develop a bunion and is one if the major reasons a person does. This is because of the small amount of space the shoes provide a person and as a result, it crams the toes together.

Rheumatoid Arthritis  Having this condition can also lead a person to develop a bunion and this is due to the fact that this condition causes inflammation in the bones. The inflammation of a bone coupled with the person wearing narrow shoes is some of the leading factors in developing a bunion.

Hereditary  A person may be at risk of developing a bunion if bunions are something that runs in the family. If so then developing a bunion is just going to happen.

Complications 

There are situations where the bunion can cause great pain and will lead to other types of conditions that are even worse kinds of conditions. That is why it is important to be wary of the shoes you are wearing and any conditions you may have.

As mentioned throughout the article women are much more prone to developing this condition and this is primarily due to the fact that women wear shoes that are much more exotic than that of the male counterpart.

This is why it is recommended that you try your best to prevent from getting a bunion because bunions not only cause severe pain and in some cases interfere in a person’s life it also can grow and start to form other conditions that will overall do much more harm to the individual in the end.  Some complications that may arise because of the bunions are:

Bursitis  This is a condition that happens when the bursae become inflamed. The Bursae is the small fluid-filled pad that protects the bones, tendons, and muscle around a joint.

Hammertoe   This is another toe condition that may arise and does arise in individuals. When a person develops a bunion they become at risk of developing a Hammertoe. This is an abnormal bend in the middle joint of the toe and causes a significant amount of pain for the individual.

Metatarsalgia  A person who develops this condition will feel a great amount of pain and have significant amounts of inflammation in the ball of their foot.

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It is important to know that many of these complications don’t always arise because of the bunions. However, it should be acknowledged that a person can develop more complications in the foot if they do not treat the bunion as soon as possible.  The best way to determine the severity of the bunion is to visit you a doctor who will be able to refer you to a podiatrist and from there they will be better able to inform you of the best ways to treat the bunion.

Diagnosing Bunions

Bunions are not that difficult to “not” spot. Because of this, it is not necessary to visit a doctor to determine if you have a bunion. However, if you want to know the reasons for the pain in the bunion region or for what may have caused the bunion than visiting a doctor is recommended.  The doctor, an individual will most likely visit as it pertains to their foot pain/injury, is a podiatrist. It is recommended that an individual visit a podiatrist when:

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  • The pain in the big toe is persistent
  • When an individual starts to see a visible bum around the big toe region
  • When the movement around the big toe region starts to decrease
  • When an individual finds it difficult to find shoes that can fit because of the bunion

Physical Examination

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The doctor may give you a physical examination that will determine the severity of the bunion and if it is necessary for a surgery. However, because of the condition, it will not be that difficult to see. The physical examination is more to determine how much pain the bunion is giving you and what would be the best treatment for the bunion.

Since the severity of the bunion can range from minor to severe the doctor will offer treatments that relate to the amount of pain the individual may be feeling.  The physical examination is one of the best options in determining the best route of treating your bunion.

X-Ray

The doctor may take an X-ray to determine the severity of the bone misalignment. This is perhaps the best method the doctor or podiatrist will have to determine the severity of the injury. This is very useful as the X-ray will be able to show in great detail of the direction of the bone and better show how bent the toe is and the region of the bone that is the cause of the pain the most.  After taking the X-ray the doctor will be better able to determine the best treatment that you should take in order to alleviate or cure the condition.

Treatments

There are several treatments that are out there to help treat bunions. As mentioned earlier it is a good idea to get a doctor to diagnose the condition. Even though the bunion is visible to the person, a doctor may provide a treatment that in the end will be less cost effective to you.  

This is why it is recommended that you visit a doctor about the condition.  There are two categories of treatment that a person may undertake to help alleviate the pain they may be feeling. These categories include Standard Treatment and surgical treatment.  Standard Treatment is less expensive and is usually treatments that the individual may be able to perform themselves. Needless to say, the surgical treatment will be more expensive and a doctor will have to perform this treatment.

The Standard Treatments include:

Changing Shoes This may be a no-brainer, however, some people are unaware of the fact that their shoes are the reason for their bunions to have developed. As mentioned earlier in the article, the style of shoe a person wears can be the reason they have developed a bunion. It is important to wear shoes that will support the foot and that will also reinforce the foot. Certain shoes, particular stilettos, have been notorious for causing women to develop bunions.  It is recommended that individuals wear roomy or spacious shoes that also offer comfort and adequate amount of space for the toes to move around.

 

Padding  This treatment is quite inexpensive and can not only treat bunion pain but also has the potential to prevent bunions from forming. You can buy bunion tape over the counter. Simply place the padding on your foot in its normal positioning. This padding will help to reduce any stress your big toe may be feeling and help to alleviate the pain that the shoe may be causing you.

Medication  If there is a significant pain in the big toe region than there are many pain killers that an individual may take to alleviate the pain. It is important that you realize that, this form of treatment is a short-term treatment and only helps to alleviate the pain, not get rid of the pain.

The most common medications that are used are Acetaminophen in the most common form of that being Tylenol, Ibuprofen in the form of Advil or Motrin IB and lastly Naproxen Sodium in the form of Aleve.   Taking this medication will help to alleviate the pain and can make the stress the shoe you are wearing to be greatly reduced.

Icing  The icing is a very good treatment. Icing your bunion can help relieve the soreness you may feel and help to reduce the inflammation that may have arisen because of the shoe.

Wear warm sock  Warm socks can help to relax the muscles around the big toe and help to relieve pain in the big toe region

 Maintain a healthy weight  What most individuals are unaware of is the fact that they favor one side as the walk. Favoring one side is something that not only misaligns the hip and joints but can also lead to a person developing a foot pain especially in one foot that they favor.  When you couple the fact that individuals favor one side and then do not properly maintain their weight this leads to an individual causing severe pain to their injured foot.  The best way to maintain one’s weight is by eating foods that are high in nutritional value. It is important to cut out sugars, as sugar is one of the major reasons people become obese.

Bunion Taping and Wear a splint a night  wearing a splint at night is a great way to correct the positioning of the toe.     

Surgical options

As stated early, there are two categories of treatment. The next treatment is the Surgical treatment. Surgical treatment is much more expensive, however much more effective, hence the price.

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Surgical procedures to treat bunions though are not highly recommended simply for aesthetic reasons. However, if the bunion starts to cause severe pain and interferes in a individuals life then the operation is recommended.  What may come as a shock to many people is the fact that there are over 150 types of bunion surgery. During the surgery, the doctor will have to set the bones, ligaments, and tendons back in alignment along with removing the bump.

Doctors usually perform these injuries on individuals who are much older because the pain the older individuals feel affects their life. The need for a surgery now becomes a priority.  The surgical procedures that are listed below start from least difficult to most difficult. The surgical options that a doctor may offer the individual are:

 

 

Cortisone Injection

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This is perhaps the simplest procedures the doctor will perform. Injecting Cortisone into the bunion region will help to alleviate the pain a person may be experiencing. This is due in part because this injection will help to stop the inflammation of the bone and the tissue that is causing the pain.

Not only is this injection less time consuming but it is also less expensive. However, the downside to this option is the fact that it will only help to ‘alleviate’ the pain for a minor amount of time. It will not be able to completely treat the bunion – and in the end, it will be much more cost demanding than having an operation.  The injection is very popular for people who have developed arthritis, however, this option only gives momentary alleviation.

Remove the swollen tissue 

In this operation, the doctor will remove the tissue that surrounds the big toe region and thus, in the end, be able to correct the big toe direction. This is perhaps one of the best options as removing the swollen tissue will help to reduce the protrusion in the big toe region but will also help to completely take the pain away.

Straightening the Big toe This operation helps to straighten the big toe by removing some of the bone to straighten the big toe.

Realignment of the Big toe  Under this procedure, the doctor will realign the big toe by realigning the long bone that extends from the back of the foot to the big bone. This will help to realign the big toe joint.

Joining the bones   In this procedure, the bones that affect the joints around the bunion region are permanently joint together.  Because of how effective these procedures are it is not uncommon for people to immediately after a procedure to walk without any discomfort. The procedure really is the best ways to completely treat the bunions.

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However, the doctor may advise the patient to take a few weeks to about two months to properly heal after the procedure. Rest and less stress to an individual’s foot is the best way to completely heal the foot.  It will be recommended by the doctor to prevent a recurrence that the individual change their shoes and switch them with more comfortable and spacious shoes. More about shoes and how they affect the foot will be explained in the prevention section.

Although bunions are very unsightly foot deformities there are many treatments that are available that can fully treat the bunion. Perhaps the hallmark of having an operation is that for many of the operations an individual is able to walk right after the operation with minor to no pain whatsoever.  However, as stated earlier the doctor will recommend that you lay off that foot for a few weeks to two months.

Prevention

Bunions, as shown above, are not that difficult to treat and as you continue to read you will learn how easy they are to prevent. Prevention is always better than the cure, especially in a scenario like this. Because Bunions are so easy to prevent it would be better to prevent from getting a bunion than to treating a bunion; for cost reasons.  As stated earlier, there are some individuals who have bunions because of a heredity or because of an abnormal birth. It goes without saying that they can’t prevent from developing a bunion, however, they can treat the bunion as shown in the former section.  However, for those who have not developed a bunion due to a heredity or abnormal birth they can easily prevent from developing a bunion.

Shoe Inserts

Getting padded shoe insertions are a great way to prevent from getting a bunion. This is due to the foot padding helping to keep the foot’s bone and toe bones stay in alignment. As mentioned previously, certain shoes have the ability to shift the alignment of the toe. Constantly wearing the same shoes and for several hours will only increase the chances of developing a bunion.

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Shoes  The style of shoe that a person wears can be a huge factor in why some people develop bunions. It is important that individuals wear shoes that will keep their feet comfortable and will also provide a decent amount of support and adequate amount of space for the toe to move around.  t is recommended that individuals purchase shoes that have a wide toe box so that the toes can have some room to move around. Pointed toe shoes are a sure way for a person to develop bunions as they have been shown to cause a person to develop a bunion.

Take your shoes off   It is not uncommon for individuals to wear their shoes abroad a vehicle for a long trip. In scenarios like this, it is recommended that an individual takes off their shoes to allow the foot some air along with giving their toes room to move around.  Or if you have to walk or stand all day inside a building it is recommended that you periodically remove your shoes to allow your toes to move around.

Proper Diet  Arthritis is one of the reasons a person develops a bunion. It is important to have a diet that consists of foods that will maintain the bones’ health. Removing foods that are high in trans-fats will help in aiding against developing arthritis.   It has been researched and thoroughly studied that food that is high in trans-fat lead to inflammation.

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False Positives

False Positives are extremely rare, especially in a condition like this because of the visible change in the foot. However, there are times that a doctor might diagnose the bunion incorrectly and will provide misinformed information or will tell them to use an inferior treatment.  If the pain that a person experience gets worse after visiting a doctor it is important to visit another doctor for a second opinion.

Wrapping it up 

Bunions are minor deformities and injuries that are easily treated or prevented. Unlike many other deformities or injury, it is possible to completely treat this deformity and get on with your life.  As mentioned throughout the article, women are more prone to developing a bunion than a man is and this is because of the shoes that women wear. There are some individuals who develop bunions because of heredity or because of an injury.  But thanks to research and studies there have been great strides in treating this condition and people are able to completely remove the bunion and no longer have the bunny interfere in the life.

Sources used while researching for this article

The sources used for this article are listed below. These sites are respected sites with the articles written or researched by medical professionals; however, you should not take the information that has been written in this article as medical advice. Consult your doctor if you think you have developed a bunion.

Sources

  1. Mayo Clinic Staff, Symptoms and Causes of Bunions, Aug 11, 2016
  2. Sabrina Felson, WebMD Medical Staff Writer, Podiatrist: Foot specialist , Jul 05, 2016
  3. Bone, Muscle and Joint Team , Treating Bunions without surgery, Jun 11, 2015
  4. Philip A. Radovic, DPM, FACFAS, What is a Bunion, Apr 10, 2015
  5. Unknown, Foot Health Facts, Jun 08, 2016
  6. Mayo Clinic Staff Writer, How do I treat a bunion?, Mar 02, 2016
  7. Healthline Medical Staff Writer, Removing a bunion, Nov 06, 2015
  8. Neal M. Blitz, D.P.M., F.A.C.F.A.S., 6 Myths about Bunion Surgery, Dec 12, 2012
  9. Foot and Ankle Association staff writer, What to expect after a Bunion surgery,
  10. Neal M. Blitz, D.P.M., F.A.C.F.A.S., Walking after bunion Surgery: Is it possible?, Sep 10, 2015