One of the most obvious foot deformities is the bunion. A bunion is a bony protuberance at the base of the big toe. The deformity is exaggerated by the fact that the big toe angles in toward the other toes.
This foot deformity has many causes. It can be hereditary; we often see it in multiple generations within a family. It is more common in women as improper shoe gear can be a factor in forcing the big toe to angle toward the other digits. Another factor in the formation of the bunion is pronation .
When a person bears most of her weight on the inside of the foot, the first metatarsal joint can thicken to protect itself. This is why custom made shoe orthotics can help prevent the formation of bunion deformities as they can help alignment of the bones of the feet. When the alignment is not correct irritation of the soft tissues surrounding the bunion joint occurs and then swelling and pain follows.
As the inflammation worsens, people can experience bunion pain with shoe gear and in walking. The big toe eventually comes to lie over or under the second toe. This causes further irritation while wearing shoes and more pain. The second toe then becomes a hammertoe thereby increasing the deformity.
Not all cases require bunion surgery. Injection therapy to reduce the inflammation over the bunion joint and to increase mobility is an effective treatment to reduce the pain associated with the bunion. Of course wider shoes to minimize shoe irritation is necessary.
Custom-made orthotics can also help to redistribute weight-bearing stress. However, these modalities do not and cannot change the bone deformity. The only way to correct a truly unsightly and painful bunion is by surgical intervention. No one surgical procedure is the best for every person and we at Livingston Foot Care in Bellmore, NY tailor our treatment to the needs of our patient. We believe that surgery is the last resort and every effort should be made to reduce bunion pain and help keep our patients mobile without surgical intervention We also advocate prevention and recommend profession foot evaluations for children whose parent or grandparent have bunion deformities. Our doctors at Livingston Foot Care Specialists are always available to discuss your concerns.