A hallux valgus, commonly known as a bunion, is a painful foot abnormality that occurs frequently in adults. Bunions occur when continued pressure or abnormal usage cause the tissues, bones, and muscles of the foot at the base of the big toe to shift out of place. When the conditions occur long enough, a bunion develops.
1. Why do some people get bunions and others do not?
The development of a bunion can happen to anyone, but some people are more prone to this painful food condition than others. Some common factors for the formation of bunions include:
- heredity - people who have parents, grandparents, and other older relatives with bunion problems may be more likely to develop them as well
- gait issues - people who walk with a gait that creates uneven pressure on their feet may be pre-disposed to the development of bunions
- shoe choices - people who routinely wear confining or restrictive shoes, such as styles with very high heels and those with narrow or restrictive toe boxes can aggravate the joint at the base of the big toe and increase their chances for the development of a painful bunion
Additionally, people who are already dealing with joint issues, such as arthritis or inflammation, may be at increased risk of experiencing bunion issues.
2. Can the development of a bunion be reversed?
Unfortunately, once a bunion has developed, the condition is considered to be permanent unless surgically removed. For some bunion pain sufferers, the pain and discomfort will be able to be managed by making some proactive changes, including:
- opting to wear shoes or shoe inserts designed specifically to ease pain and pressure on bunions when walking
- losing weight to lessen overall pressure on the joints of the feet
- making therapeutic care part of your daily routine, including soothing foot soaks, massage, or icing the affected joint
When bunion pain is severe, it can also be helpful to use OTC pain relievers that can reduce inflammation, such as ibuprofen or naproxen sodium.
3. Are there medical treatment options for bunions?
When bunion pain and discomfort become too severe to manage at home, your podiatrist can help you decide if a surgical option is right for your situation. Bunion surgery can help alleviate pain by returning the big toe to its proper position, which can involve surgically removing the offending protrusion and realigning the bones, tendons, ligaments, and nerves.
To find out more about managing your bunions, or to determine whether bunion surgery is a viable option for your situation, make an appointment with a trusted bunion surgeon soon.