Bunions – Causes, Symptoms & Treatments
What are Bunions?
Bunions are a common source of foot discomfort and one of the top 3 complaints that we see at Orthotic Solutions Podiatry. Bunions occur at the big toe joint (& occasionally the 5th) and are initially soft tissue swelling, which over time results in excessive bone deposits / growth on either side of the joint. The big toe can also deviate (called Hallux Abducto Valgus – HAV deformity) towards the 2nd toe, sometimes resulting in the 2nd toe overlapping the 1st.
Bunion symptoms include deformation, redness, swelling, restricted movement, pain and sometimes excessive skin growth. As the foot effectively gets wider, wearing shoes becomes more difficult, especially dress shoes.
Bunions can occur in children, men & women and are often hereditary. Women often end up with worse bunions than men as wearing pointed/high heeled shoes does accelerate the speed at which bunions develop. Our local Sydney sports podiatry team firmly believe in exhausting all non-surgical options before referring you to a foot specialist Sydney, such as an orthopaedic foot & ankle surgeon.
What Causes my Bunions?
Bunion causes are many – family history, excessive pronation during toe off, excessively high or low arched feet, pointed / narrow shoes, high heeled shoes, various forms of arthritis, etc. to name a few. Please note that poor footwear choices do not cause bunions, but merely makes them worse.
What Bunion Treatment Options are Available?
Conservative treatment focuses on the management of pain and slowing of the bunion progression. Treatment can include, but is not limited to:
- Wearing stable and wider shoes to help control foot movements and reduce pressure on the toes.
- Ice treatment for swelling and pain relief.
- Medication for pain management and to reduce swelling.
- Bunion orthotics that limit pronation during toe off by redirecting to pressure away from the bunions. If children have bunions (which is definitely not “Within Normal Limits”) then kids orthotics are often indicated.
- Protective padding to soften the pressure from the shoes.
Please note that we don’t recommend night splints as they do not work whilst you are sleeping.
If conservative management fails or the bunions are excessive, some people progress to surgery and we can recommend some local foot & ankle surgeons experienced in bunion surgery.
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Our leading team of Sydney Podiatrists will be able to assist with your bunions as it is one of our ‘bread & butter’ conditions.