Do you suffer from bunions and claw toes?
Millions of people worldwide are affected by two very common foot problems such as bunions and claw toes.
Bunions, or hallux valgus, typically affects people over thirty, with a 5:1 greater incidence in women over men.
It consists of a bony protrusion over the medial head of the first metatarsophalangeal joint, located at the base of the big toe or hallux.
This progressive deformity warrants treatment as early as it’s first recognised since, over time, the pain in the joint can significantly impair your walking and affect the hips, knees and ankles.
In advanced cases, the bunion becomes a grossly calcified eminence that causes severe pain and limits the person’s walking ability.
Moreover, claw toe deformities display a change in alignment and flexion or clawing of the toes. In losing their correct alignment when deforming, claw toes alter the weightbearing function of toes, causing pain in the ball of the foot, which is often referred to as metatarsalgia, and rubbings over the toes which can ulcerate and cause serious problems in certain patients such as the elderly or those with diabetes.
Patients with a bunion or claw toe deformity often struggle to find adequate footwear that’s comfortable, which in turn further aggravates the condition. The emotional stress that accompanies a change in foot appearance adds to the problem.
What are the causes of these conditions?
Bunions are caused by bony and ligamentous alterations that, in addition to causing a bony protuberance, affects the big toe joint, leading to deviation toward the second toe. Factors such as overweight, foot type, and neuromuscular or inflammatory conditions contribute to its development, as so does the continued use of ill-fitting shoes (tight or high-heeled footwear).
Claw and hammer toe deformities may arise secondary to hallux valgus or from bony and muscular imbalances affecting the lesser toe joints.
What to do if you suffer from bunions or claw toe deformity?
There are various conservative treatment options such as the use of orthoses, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and wide-fitting footwear that may help alleviate the symptoms caused by bunions and claw toes. However, the only long-term, effective solution to these problems is foot surgery.
Currently, the most recommended technique is via minimally-invasive surgery or percutaneous foot surgery. This is carried out as day-case surgery with minimal disruption to the skin, muscles and soft-tissues which shortens the postoperative period and discomfort.
This technique involves incisions of a few millimetres using a special set of surgical tools to reduce injury and resolve these bony deformities in a definite manner. This technique involves the use of local anaesthesia, does not require screws or any metalwork, and what’s most important, the patient immediately walks out of surgery!
It is recommended to carry out minimally-invasive or percutaneous foot surgery if you present with the following symptoms:
- Pain and inflammation that leads one to take pain-killers
- Significant or painful deformities in the feet
- Moderate or severe deformity of a bunion or lesser toe deformity
Clínica San Román, located in the centre of Alicante, is renowned in Europe for its 40-year-long trajectory and extensive experience in foot surgery owing to their distinctive percutaneous technique in the treatment of bunions and claw toe deformities.
The clinic was established in 1979 by Dr J. M. San Román Pérez, pioneer at European level in percutaneous foot surgery.