Hallux Valgus or Bunions
Hallux valgus or bunions occur at the joint that connects the big toe to the foot, also known as the metatarsophalangeal joint. Visibly, bunions appear like a bump on the base and side of the big toe. In actuality, the big toe begins to angle inward toward the second toe, placing it and the joint out of alignment. One in three women in the U.S. have bunions, and 9 out of 10 cases of bunions occur in women. Bunions are thought to occur due to poor fitting shoes, but can also be more likely to occur due to genetics and the already existing conflicting morphology of the foot. Bunions are a progressive disorder and worsen with time.
- Enlargement of the base of the big toe
- Pain or soreness when walking
- Reddening and tenderness of the skin around the joint
- Progressive misalignment of the second toe
To diagnose hallux valgus or bunions, a clinician will observe a visible prominence at the base of the big toe. The clinician may also order imaging studies to observe the severity or the degree of progression of the bunion.
In mild cases, regular checkups and observations is all that is needed to prevent further worsening and progression of the condition. In other cases, changing footwear, modifying physical activity, icing, NSAIDs, cushions and orthotics may be necessary for treating the condition. If the above treatments fail and the bunion interferes with the lifestyle of the patient, like in athletics, surgery is an option.