A bunion, also known as a Hallux Valgus is a bony lump on the side of the foot of which is a deformity of the base of the big toe. This distortion develops when your big toe starts to angle towards the rest of the toes on the same foot, which could possibly force the bone to stick outwards and cause pain. The bunion may rub on shoes and will ultimately cause inflammation, discomfort and pain.
What causes bunions is still unclear and unknown. However it is believed to be hereditary and run in families. On some occasions having this condition can be associated with problems like arthritis. It is also much more common in woman than men which may be caused by wearing tight, badly fitting or very high heeled shoes. Wearing shoes of such a sort cause the skin on the joint to rub on the shoes and become red, blistered, infected and thicken. Eventually the foot may become far too wide that it will become difficult to find wide shoes to fit properly and cause difficulty walking.
Symptoms of having a bunion are normally very similar in each case. The main sign of a bunion is that the big toe will be pointing towards the direction to the other toes on the same foot. Other common symptoms may include:
- Difficulty walking due to pain and difficulty fitting into shoes due to shape change in the foot
- Hard, thick, red skin caused by the big toe and second toe overlapping
- A bony lump at the bottom of the big toe which will be the outside edge of the foot
- Pain and inflammation at the big toe joint that's made worse by wearing certain shoes
- In severe cases, the big toe can push your second toe up out of place. Lifting up or pushing down to make room for the deformed big toe
All symptoms will progress and worsen overtime causing the individual a lot of pain, it is essential to seek GP advice. Going forward, they can then advise the best options.
Living with bunions
Treatment for bunions may only be necessary if it is causing significant pain. Most of the time there will be non-surgical treatments to help. Treatments will ease pain caused by the deformity but will not be able to change the shape of the foot or cure the bunion.
Bunion pain can be reduced by pain killers such as, paracetamol or ibuprofen, these are extremely useful to help with discomfort and reduce swelling. Although pain killers and medicine provide temporary relief it is not a cure. If the skin becomes irritated, blistered or infected it may be necessary for antibiotics.
One of the most important things an individual can do to help with bunion care is to wear the correct footwear that is flat, wide fitting and supportive with laces or straps. Bunion pads are also a great form of protection from shoes that may cause pressure or friction.
Bunion surgery may be the final resort if the symptoms do not ease. Surgery is the only option to fully correct the effects of a bunion. The symptoms and effects of a bunion will only progress over time with it growing in size and becoming much more painful if it is left untreated. The aim of surgery is to straighten the joint as much as possible back to normal to relieve pressure and pain. The surgery is performed under local or general anaesthetic and there is usually no need to stay in hospital overnight. All pros and cons of this surgery will be discussed either by a GP or a specialist.
Bunions, to some people may not seem that bad; however they can ultimately affect a huge part of the individual's life and daily routine. Below are some specifically designed products to ease pain and other symptoms.
Physiotherapy aids can be necessary for sufferers; there are great products to try help eliminate swelling and tenderness such as reusable ice packs, bio freeze spray and cold therapy cold pack.
For someone suffering with bunions, it is rather necessary to try and reduce the pain and swelling that they cause. There are specific products which aim to reduce pain, swelling and help reduce the changes of posture and walk being affected. These products are bunion correctors, gel bunion sleeve, bunion splint, gel bunion cushion, active gel bunion pad.