Bunions are a deformity of the foot that occurs at the level of the foot.that occurs at the level of the first toe joint of the first toe and that progressively affects the other toes.
Its most visible symptom is a lump or protrusion that forms on the outer side of the base of the first toe or “hallux”, from which comes the scientific name of this deformity known as hallux valgus.
This protrusion is a combination of calcified bone tissue at the level of the joint and inflamed soft tissue around it.
The bunion is accompanied in most occasions of redness and pain because there is continuous friction with the footwear and there can be affectation of the nerves of the sole of the foot.
Because bunion problems have accompanied human beings for millennia, it is normal that there are many myths and realities about this subject.
Some popular claims have proven to be true, while others have no scientific basis whatsoever.
In this article we will detail some facts about this interesting topic.
What are the causes of bunions?
There are several causes for the onset of hallux valgus, but the most frequent are the use of the most frequent are the use of inadequate footwear, inflammatory bone diseases and a genetic predisposition.
It is considered that the incorrect use of footwear is considered to be a risk factor in the development of the deformity.
In turn, studies indicate that children of parents with bunions are prone to suffer from this ailment, even as early as puberty or in early adulthood.
Gender plays a role in the incidence of hallux valgus.In the case of hallux valgus, women are affected in much greater numbers than men.
In any case, much of this female preponderance is also related to the use of inappropriate footwear, especially high heels and narrow toes.
This type of footwear forces the person to walk almost on tiptoe, altering the relationship of stress and strain on the muscles and joints of the foot.
During gait, the entire weight of the body is concentrated, in stages, on different points of the sole of the foot: heel, fifth toe joint and finally the first toe joint.
In addition, narrow toe shoes put pressure on the first toe which in turn affects the second toe, causing it to deviate up to 45º from its original longitudinal axis.
Does the shape of my foot indicate whether I may develop bunions?
Conventional wisdom says that the shape of the foot can predict whether a child will suffer from bunions in the future. Statistics support this claim.
The human foot does not have the same shape in all individuals, especially at the toe level.
Three predominant foot shapes have been distinguished, based on the ratio between the lengths of the hallux and the second toe.
- Type 1 is the so-called “Egyptian foot“. Here the hallux toe is longer than the second toe, the second toe is longer than the third toe and so on.
- Type 2 is known as “Greek foot“. In this case the second toe is longer than the hallux. The other toes maintain the decreasing proportion of the Egyptian foot.
- Type 3 in turn is known as “square foot”.square foot” . It is a foot whose toes are of similar length, i.e., none particularly protrudes above the rest.
Studies indicate that people with Greek feet have the lowest incidence of bunions, followed by those with the square foot type.
For their part, people who have an Egyptian foot are the most susceptible to developing hallux valgus..
It is even considered that the longer the first toe is, the more likely it is to suffer from deviations and joint problems.
Is it true that men do not suffer from bunions?
Although women make up the bulk of patients treated worldwide for hallux valgus in healthcare facilities, men are not spared from the condition.omen are not spared from suffering from this condition.
Having an Egyptian foot, the existence of a preexisting condition of hyperlaxityor having a flat foot can lead to the development of this deformity, even at an early age.
Male children of parents affected by hallux valgus are also predisposed to this problem.
Can my bunions heal with braces or splints?
A large number of people with bunions initially prefer to use corrective orthotics or prefabricated inserts to alleviate bunion problems.
Also common is the use of “night-rest prostheses“splints that wrap the metatarsal of the foot and correct the alignment of the first toe during the night.
They are usually worn at night to help relieve toe position and relax the muscles of the sole of the foot.
In reality, these orthopedic aids only help to reduce soft tissue swelling and muscle pain, but in no case do they solve the bony deformity or hallux alignment that causes the bunion.
Can I use cold to relieve the pain and inflammation of my bunions?
By applying cold compresses or ice to the area affected by the bunion, a decrease in the soft tissue swelling around the bunion is achieved.
This in turn will relieve pain, especially after long hours of standing or walking in inappropriate footwear that rubs against the skin.
Anti-inflammatory medications will have a similar effect by reducing the soft tissue swelling around the joint affected by the bunion.
If I have surgery, won’t I suffer from bunions again?
The corrective surgery for hallux valgus helps to correct the original alignment of the first toe, eliminating the abnormal bone growth.
However, the bunion may develop again since its appearance depends on factors that cannot be completely eliminated by any surgical intervention. One of these factors, already mentioned, is the natural anatomical shape of the foot.
However, with proper technique, a bunion may not return for at least 30 years.
Those who have “Egyptian foot” or joint hyperlaxity are likely to develop are likely to develop hallux valgus again in the distant in the distant future.
The hereditary factor or genetic predisposition cannot be eliminated with any surgical intervention.
In the case of many women who have had bunion surgery, continuing to wear inappropriate footwear will influence the future development of this problem.
Will operating on my bunions fix all my foot problems?
Unfortunately, a foot affected by bunions, even after undergoing successful surgery, may suffer from other bone problems that may require additional interventions.
One of these problems is the deformity of the fingers known as “claw toes”, in which each finger deviates laterally and “rides” on the finger next to it.
Its cause is a deformity of the joints of each toe at the metatarsal level of the foot, which in many cases also requires surgery to be corrected.
Can bunions improve over time?
The inflammation of a bunion can be improved with cold compresses, anti-inflammatory medications and orthopedic prostheses.
But the bone deformity that generates it or the deviation of the first toe will not improve by itself. In fact, it will continue to worsen over time if corrective surgery is not performed and there is no change in habits.
When is it advisable to undergo bunion surgery?
Health professionals recommend bunion surgery when there is pain caused by the bunion or a decrease in the patient’s quality of life because the foot has lost function or has a significant deformity.
The most important thing is that after bunion surgery, the type of footwear should be changed to a certain extent to one that supports the foot better without crowding the toes.
What types of surgery are used to correct bunions?
For decades, only open foot surgery was open foot surgery to correct bunions, which required a long and painful recovery period and subsequent physical rehabilitation.
Subsequently, percutaneous or minimally percutaneous or minimally invasive foot surgery, which leaves only a small woundwhich leaves only a small wound and requires practically no therapy or postoperative rest.
However, not all cases of hallux valgus can be operated with percutaneous surgery, nor do they all require traditional open foot surgery.
Very severe cases may require traditional surgery, but others can be operated with percutaneous or minimally invasive foot surgery.
The decision will depend on the angle and degree of the deformity as well as the patient’s age and comorbidities.
If you suffer from bunions and you want to know the best know the best solution to your problem, go to the
San Roman Clinic
located in the center of Alicante.
Our institution is recognized throughout Europe for its long experience in minimally invasive bunion and claw toe surgery. minimally invasive surgery of bunions and claw toes..
It was was founded in 1979 by Dr. José Manuel San Román Péreza European pioneer in percutaneous foot surgery percutaneous foot surgery.
The San Roman Clinic has state-of-the-art diagnostic and surgical equipment. The Clinic has a team of doctors and podiatrists with more than 40 years of experience in foot surgery, ready to provide personalized assistance and guidance to the patients. most effective treatment for the patient.
COUGHLIN, M.J. & JONES, C.P., 2007. Hallux valgus: demographics, etiology, and radiographic assessment.. Foot & Ankle International. 28(7), pp.759-777.
HECHT, P.J. & LIN, T.J., 2014. Hallux valgus. Medical Clinics. 98(2), pp.227-232.
MANN, R.A. & COUGHLIN, M.J., 1981. Hallux valgus–etiology, anatomy, treatment and surgical considerations. Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. (157), pp.31-41.
Article prepared by Clínica San Román
Date of revision: 11-02-2020