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Bunions - (Hallux Valgus)
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Bunions - (Hallux Valgus)

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Bunions, referred to in the medical community as Hallux Valgus, are one of the most common forefoot problems. A bunion is a prominent bump on the inside of the foot around the big toe joint. Your big toe joint becomes enlarged, forcing the toe to crowd against your other toes. This puts pressure on your big toe joint, pushing it outward beyond the normal profile of your foot, and resulting in pain. Bunions can also occur on the joint of your little toe (bunionette).

Bunions can occur for a number of reasons, but the most common cause is wearing shoes that fit too tightly. They can also develop as a result of injury, stress on your foot or another medical condition.

Often, treatment involves conservative steps that may include changing your shoes, padding your bunion and wearing shoe inserts. Severe cases may require surgery to relieve the pain.

Treatment 

Treatment options vary depending on the severity of your bunion and the amount of pain it causes you. Early treatment is best, to decrease your risk of developing joint deformities.

 

Conservative treatment

Nonsurgical treatments that may relieve the pain and pressure of a bunion include:

  • Changing shoes. Wear roomy, comfortable shoes that provide plenty of space for your toes.

  • Padding and taping. Padding a bunion may minimize the pain and allow you to continue normal activities. Your doctor can help you tape and pad your foot in a normal position to reduce pain and stress on the bunion.

  • Medication. Acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) can control the pain of a bunion. Your doctor may prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or naproxen, to ease pain and inflammation. Cortisone injections also can be helpful.

  • Physical therapy. The heating effect of ultrasound therapy or whirlpool baths can provide relief from the pain and inflammation of a bunion.

  • Orthotics. Padded shoe inserts (orthotics) can help control abnormal movement of your foot, reducing your symptoms and preventing a bunion from worsening. Over-the-counter arch supports can provide relief for some people, and others may require prescription orthotics.

Surgical options

If conservative treatment doesn't provide relief, you may need surgery. A number of surgical procedures are performed for bunions, and no particular surgery is best for every problem. Most surgical procedures include a bunionectomy, which involves:

  • Removing swollen tissue from around your big toe joint

  • Straightening your big toe by removing part of the bone

  • Permanently joining the bones of your affected joint

You may be able to walk on your foot immediately following some bunion procedures. With other procedures, it may be a few weeks or longer. To prevent a recurrence of symptoms, you'll need to wear proper shoes after recovery.

Surgery isn't recommended unless a bunion causes you significant pain. A bunionectomy — like other types of surgery — is not without risk. You may heal poorly, develop an infection or lose some feeling in your foot. You might continue to have pain or develop a new bunion in your big toe joint after surgery. Consider trying conservative treatment before having a bunionectomy.

 

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Disclaimer

This information is provided for general medical education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient's medical condition.
In no event will The DrEddyClinic.com be liable for any decision made or action taken in reliance upon the information provided through this web site.

 


 



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Last Modified : 03/14/08 07:10 PM