A bunion is a localized enlargement at the big toe base found in the inner portion. There is often a misalignment of the big toe as well, with the toe moving outward towards the smaller toes. This is medially known as a hallux valgus deformity, as the normal position is straight forward.
In case of this condition, the metatarsophalangeal joint, also known as the MTP joint found on the base of the big toe becomes red, tender and swollen, causing pain. Sometimes, the bursa, which is a small sac near the joint, also gets inflamed. A smaller bunion is found at the fifth and smallest toe base and this is usually termed as the tailor’s bunion.
Facts of Bunion Toe
Who is at Risk?
Women are usually affected by bunion by nearly ten times more than men are. This could be due to high heel shoes, shoes that have narrow toes, tight shoes and so on. These increase the risk of the condition. People wearing shoes experience the condition more than those going about barefooted. Genetic factors can also come into play and some people are predisposed to the condition, especially in case of very young people. In some congenital conditions, the bones at the foot are not well formed. Nerve conditions and rheumatoid arthritis or any other injury to the foot can also cause it. The condition is very common among ballet dancers.
Recognizing a Bunion Toe
Sometimes, there are absolutely no symptoms. However, some people experience a pain in the foot in the area, either while walking or while wearing shoes. You might also experience chronic pain at the toe base, due to the swelling of the tissues. It might become tender or show redness. You need to get the foot examined by a doctor. Bunion can be diagnosed by means of x-rays, so that any other conditions, such as arthritis or gout can also be analyzed. The alignment of the toes can be well studied by means of radiographs.
Surgical and Non-Surgical Intervention
You can treat the bunion condition surgically as well as non-surgically. Just rest the foot, avoid excessive walking and start wearing loose sandals or wider shoes. This can go a long way in relieving the pain and swelling. Avoid the high heel styles of footwear and go in for walking shoes. High heel shoes tend to pull the big toe outward. You could also try medications, such as Aspirin and Ecotrin or ibuprofen and so on to help ease the pain and inflammation.
Apply a cold pack to relieve the pain and swelling symptoms. A doctor might also prescribe some stretching exercises for the inner portion of the joint. You could also try wearing a bunion splint to give you relief from the pain and swelling. Get customized insoles to wear in order to help reposition the big toe and also offer additional support to the foot. In case of severe or persistent pain, the bunion can be removed by surgical operation, known as a bunionectomy. The big toe is realigned and the bony growth is removed in this case.
Cure For Bunion Toe
Surgical or non-surgical techniques may be used to cure bunion condition. Since the pain arises from the bunion is due to pressure from the shoe, treatment focuses on removing the pressure that the shoe exerts on the deformity. Pressure is reduced by wearing wider shoes as pressure on the bunion is lesser. Pressure and rubbing may also be reduced by using bunion pads. There are also numerous devices, such as toe spacers, that attempt to splint the big toe and reverse the deforming forces.
If all nonsurgical measures failed to control the symptoms, then surgery may be suggested to treat the bunion condition. There are more than 100 surgical procedures in treating bunion. The basic considerations in performing any surgical procedure are:
- Remove of the bunion
- Realign the bones that make up the big toe
- Balance the muscles around the joint so the deformity does not return
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