Bunions are one of the most common forefoot deformities. A displacement of the bone under the 1st toe
occurs. This causes the big toe to move towards the smaller toes. This shifting of the bones causes a
bony prominence on the side of the patient’s foot (the bunion joint). Over a period of time the big toe may
come to rest under (occasionally over) the 2nd toe.
A bunion is more common in women than men due to women wearing tighter fitting shoes. This condition can cause a variety of different soft tissue and bony complaints which may result in severe pain.
Symptoms include redness, swelling and pain which may be present along the inside margin of the foot. The patient’s feet may become too wide to fit into their normal size shoe and may experience moderate to severe discomfort may occur when the patient is wearing tight shoes. A “hammer toe” may occur at the 2nd toe. This is when the toe contracts and presses on the shoe. Subsequently, this may cause a corn on top of the 2nd toe.
Corns and calluses may occur on the soles of the feet, in between toes and on the bunion joint. Stiffness can occur at the big toe due to secondary arthritis; this is known as HalluxRigidus. Other foot conditions can occur such as in growing toe nails and in severe cases the bunion joint may have a fluid filled sack called a BURSITIS. This can be very painful and can become infected
CAUSES OF BUNIONS
∙ The most important causative factor is poor fitting footwear. This accounts for an higher incidence
among women then men.
∙ Family history of bunions
∙ Abnormal foot function, excessive pronation. If a chiropodist/ podiatrist uses this term he is
referring to excessive rolling in of the foot at the ankle joint while you are walking.
∙ Rheumatoid or osteoarthritis.
∙ Genetic and neuromuscular diseases which can result in a muscular imbalance such as Down’s syndrome.
∙ If one leg is longer than the other, the longer leg is more inclined to develop a bunion.
∙ If the ligaments in the feet are very weak.
∙ In some cases, bunions can occur due to trauma or injury to the feet.
∙ Wear wide fitting shoes, preferably with a leather upper which will allow a stretch.
∙ Avoid high heeled shoes.
∙ If your bunion becomes painful, red and swollen, try using ice on the joint and elevate the foot on a stool.
∙ Apply a commercial bunion pad, making sure it is not too rigid or medicated.
∙ Bunion Night Splints can reduce the size of the bunion.
∙ A Bunion Shield can reduce the pain over the bunion.
∙ Apply a moisturizer such as flexitol heel balm twice daily to hard skin or corns and use a pumice
stone to reduce the thickness of the hard skin.