Bunions

A Bunion or ‘hallux valgaris’ is where the big toe leans inwards towards the second toe leading to a bony protrusion on the side of the toe joint. The skin over this protrusion often becomes thickened as it rubs against shoes. A sac of fluid called a ‘bursa’ may form on this protrusion and this tends to become inflamed and sometimes painful. A Taylor’s bunion is a protrusion of the little toe joint.

The cause of a bunion is thought to be genetic. There is also a link with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and also flat feet. Tight fitting shoes as well as high heels can make the deformity worse and cause pain. Bunions can cause further deformities in the second toe and eventually could affect the other toes. There is a greater prevalence of bunions among older people.

What can be done to help?

Our podiatrists can reduce any hard skin that is building up on the bunion and give advice on the following:

  • Suitable shoes – low-heeled, supportive, wide shoes with a soft sole. Avoid wearing high heels, pointed toes or shoes that put pressure on the toes.
  • Padding and devises to relieve pressure on the bunion or associated areas of the foot.
  • Pain relief
  • Orthoses (devices designed to help the alignment of the foot) which may help to prevent pain.
  • Suitable exercises
  • If the bunion is causing a lot of discomfort, our podiatrist may discuss referral for surgery via your GP. If you have diabetes and a bunion you may need a referral to a diabetic foot protection service.

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