Bunions – What are they?

Bunions are probably one of the most common forefoot problems I see in my Dudley Foot Clinic, resulting in a deformity of the large toe.  The bone directly under the toe (metatarsolphalangeal joint) becomes displaced causing it to lean laterally towards the smaller toes and sometimes with time to ultimately lie under or over the second toe.

What Causes Bunions

There are some discrepancies amongst professionals as to the cause of bunions, some say it is simply genetic and is made worse by ill fitting shoes, some say poor footwear is the main cause, however pressure on the side of the large toe eventually causes swelling of the tissues and bursal sac on the metatarsalphalangeal joint, pushing the joint laterally towards the other toes.

Conditions such as osteo and rheumatoid arthritis are other causative factors, excessive pronation (foot rolling inwards), genetic diseases, imbalances within the musculature and injury to the foot.

Interestingly results from research carried out in cultures who don’t wear shoes found no signs of bunions at all.

Bunion Symptoms

Swelling, tenderness, redness and pain may be felt not only on the toe itself but also alongside the inner edge of the foot as pressure is put on surrounding tendons, tissues and bones due to the change in the normal walking action of the foot.  Uneven distribution of weight arises and bearing down on the other foot, if this isn’t affected is fairly common.

Bunion Treatments

Bunion gel pads can alleviate the pain and soreness felt when walking and as excessive pronation (rolling in) is one of the most common causes, investing in a pair of arch supports to support and prevent the arch from collapsing is sensible to prevent any further damage.

Regular removal of any hard skin or corns which have built up will ease the secondary symptoms.

For very severe cases, surgery is an option to straighten the toe, for which your GP would be happy to refer you.

I carry a variety of different supports and pads in my Dudley clinic, please pop in to see what your best option is, or if you need me to visit you at home in the Dudley area please feel free to call.