More than 15% of women in the UK suffer from bunions, but what is a bunion? A bunion, also known as hallux valgus, is a deformity of the big toe in which the big toe excessively angles towards the second toe and leads to a bony lump on the side of the foot. This can also form a large sac of fluid, known as a bursa, which can become inflamed and sore.
What causes the problem?
There is no one cause of having a bunion and contrary to popular opinion, bunions are not generally caused by shoes. They are most often caused by a defective mechanical structure of the foot.
Bunions can also be caused by age, arthritis or playing sport.
Is it serious?
Some people have large bunions that cause no pain but do cause difficulties with footwear, while others have relatively small bunions that can be very painful. Although some treatments can ease the pain of bunions, only surgery can correct the defect.
Who gets it?
Although anyone can get a bunion, they tend to be more common in women, possibly due to some of the more restrictive footwear typically worn. Women also tend to have looser ligaments. If your parents or grandparents have them, you may also be more prone to developing them.
How do I prevent it?
Wearing sensible shoes that fit well is a good preventative measure. If you notice a bump developing where your big toe joins the foot, it may be time to switch your footwear. Try to opt for wider shoes that provide your toes with room to move and keep your heel height to no more than 4cm for maximum comfort.
What are the treatments?
We may recommend exercise, orthoses, shoe alterations or night splints which hold the toes straight during sleep. As a last resort we may also recommend surgery.
- Keep your feet clean by washing them every day
- Dry your feet thoroughly after washing them
- Trim your toenails regularly using proper nail clippers
- Change your socks daily to keep your feet fresh
- Wear flipflops in public areas such as showers and swimming pool
Do you require advice? Call us.