Bunions, or (hallux valgus), according to the Pacific Foot & Ankle Center, are rarely caused by shoes. Shoes can irritate, aggravate, even accelerate bunions, but they are usually not the cause of the problem. The deformity is caused by a combination of inherited traits and the compensations we have to make to walk comfortably.
A bunion is a deformity of the joint behind the big toe, where the big toe bends at the ball of the foot. The bunion, in its early stages, may appear as a slight swelling on the side of the joint and may not be painful. As it progresses, the size of the bump becomes larger and the big toe begins to drift toward the second toe. This is the point at which shoes (especially dress shoes) become uncomfortable and frequently irritate the side of the joint; there is usually a redness that appears over the bump. As we get older, the deformity progresses; the forefoot gets wider and hurts in any normal shoe. Frequently, the second toe gets “popped-up” and forms a hammer toe. The top of the toe is frequently irritated by the shoe and a corn is formed.
What can you do to prevent bunions? Prevention is only possible if the bunion is diagnosed early and conservative treatment (with a functional orthotic device) is started before a major deformity occurs. Since bunion deformities are progressive (they get worse as time goes on) early control of the deforming forces is crucial. Many moderate to severe bunions can be effectively treated with orthotic bunion splints such as the Bunion Aid Treatment Splint or the Bunion Aid Medial Mid-Foot Brace. It is important to treat your bunions as soon as they are detected because once there is a significant distortion of the joints, costly surgical treatment is required.
What can you do if you already have bunions? There are several treatment alternatives:
Wear wider shoes and restrict activities that cause pain ( not a recommended course of action since, if left untreated, the bunion will continue to develop.)
Control early bunions (with minimal deformity) with functional orthotic devices that improve stability, reduce abnormal compensations and eliminate joint pain.
In advanced bunions ( with marked joint deformity), surgery is usually indicated.
Bunion Surgery is a costly and painful process that is only required for the most extreme cases of Bunions or Hallux Valgus. Most moderate to severe bunions can be effectively treated with a Bunion Treatment Splint or Mid-Foot Brace.
Most bunion surgeries are performed under local anesthesia, at a hospital or out-patient surgical center. An anesthesiologist sedates the patient so that he sleeps lightly during the surgery. Before the surgery, questions about your procedure and recovery period will be presented to you in detail. All questions you may have will be answered to your satisfaction by your doctor. The actual surgery involves dissecting the foot through a process that requires months of healing and rehabilitation.