What is a bunion? What is the treatment?
What is a bunion?
Most people believe that a bunion is a bump on the side of the foot next to the big toe. However, bunions involved much more than what we can see. Even though the skin might be red around the deformity, a bunion actually represents a change in the foot anatomy.
Bunions develop over time. In the initial stages, the big toe starts pointing towards the second toe and later changes in the actual alignment of the bones in the foot.
There is a similar deformity known as tailor’s bunion or bunionette. This type of deformity (Bump) differs from a bunion because it is found near the base of the little toe on the opposite side of the bunion.
What are the symptoms of bunions?
In the early stages of the bunion formation, most people do not have any symptoms. Symptoms are often a daily problem when the bunion gets worse and with specific footwear. These include shoes that crowd the toes, very narrow footwear, and/or high-heeled shoes. Most common symptoms include:
- Physical pain on the bunion or around it.
- A burning sensation.
- Redness and swelling.
- Difficulty walking.
What causes bunions?
Bunions have a hereditary component, often run in families and are more frequently found in women. Hence some people may simply inherit a faulty foot shape. Also, footwear that is very tight or does not fit properly may induce the bunion development. Bunions may also develop due to inflammatory conditions such as arthritis.
Who gets bunions?
Bunions are more frequent in women but anyone can have them. People with certain foot anatomies like flat feet are also more likely to get bunions due to the changes in the foot caused by bunions.
How are bunions diagnosed?
Bunions can be simply diagnosed with observation, as the bump is obvious on the side or base of the big toe. However, your foot specialist should make the appropriate X-rays to examined in detailed the extent of the deformity of the foot as often, the bunions cause other painful deformities in the smaller toes like claw or hammer toes.
How are bunions treated?
- Wearing wide shoes with adequate toe room.
- Using cushion pads over the bunion to reduce the pain.
- Avoiding activities that cause pain, such as standing for long periods of time.
- Taking pain killers prescribed by a professional.
- Cold packs to relief from inflammation and pain.
- Using custom-made orthotic devices.
All the non-surgical treatments are only a temporary solution to the bunion problem. Surgery must be considered not only when the deformity or the bump causes pain but also when we see the big toe shifting to the other toes causing them to develop further deformities.
Our minimal incision surgery has the following advantages:
- Ambulatory surgery which allows the patient to walk unaided from the clinic.
- Minimises complications arising from general anaesthetics.
- A minimal incision brings faster recovery with little post-operative pain because such surgery respects the soft tissue and articulation.
- It does not require any screws or implants that other techniques require.
- Less risk of infection and a better scar healing.
- Excellent long term results.