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Bunions | What exactly is a Bunion?

Medical Centre | Bunions

You might ask, what exactly is a bunion? Where can you get one? What does it feel like?

A Bunion is a boney bump that develops on the side of your foot just behind your big toe. The bump is caused by the alignment of the bones changing. With the big toe leaning over closer to the second toe, which forces the joint to shift outwards, making it more prominent.

The medical term for bunions is hallux valgus (or HV). A similar bump can also develop on the other side of your foot behind the little toe – this is called a bunionette.

They occur in around 23% of adults aged between 18 and 651, with women over two times more likely to develop them than men. This increases to as many as 35% in people older than 65 years. Children and teenagers are also susceptible to bunions (8%). It is vital to identify and manage bunions early, as the condition is progressive and the bunions will generally get worse with time.

Are Bunions painful?

Pain from bunions can be due to skin and soft tissue irritation and inflammation, both at site of the bunion as well as in other toes. As the bunion progresses though, pain can be more severe and cause symptoms in multiple foot joints as they become more damaged.

Aside from problems associated with finding comfortable shoes, other areas of your feet and legs can be affected, as well as your balance and the way you walk.

Women do tend to get more bunions than men, and it can run in families. However, women are more fashion conscious and so our choice of shoe is not necessarily what is comfortable for our feet. We usually buy shoes because of the style at the time and simply because we want to look great from top to toe.

Studies have also demonstrated that bunions can increase falls risks in older people.

We don’t seem to realise just how much we rely on the existence and welfare of our big toes. We all take our feet for granted: they are just there; to walk with; to run with; to stand on for unlimited time. We make them pretty by painting the nails and by forcing them into restrictive footwear for long periods of time. We forget that just like the rest of our body, our feet need rest, they need comforting, they need pampering and they also need airing.

Our balance is effected when we have a bunion, which means as we age we need to take particular care regarding falls risks.
Bunions coupled with problems with your eyesight as you age, can greatly impede movement and balance. Older people are also more susceptible to the bone-weakening disease osteoporosis, which makes their bones brittle and easier to break when they do fall

So how do they form?

So how do they form? Bunions form due to an abnormal pull of the muscles around an unstable joint. Research suggests that the shape and position of certain bones in your feet may leave you more susceptible to bunions. In particular, the shape of the 1st metatarsal and the length of the first metatarsal bone seem to be associated with developing this condition.

It is also thought that the condition may be hereditary. It has previously been thought that poor footwear (including high heels) and flat feet may be causes. Conditions such as Rheumatoid Arthritis and other connective tissue disorders also appear to increase your risk of developing bunions. Conditions such as gout and hallux limitus can also cause pain and swelling of the big toe joint.

In our clinic we understand that the way people walk can also be a factor. When the foot rolls in or ‘pronates; late in the walking cycle, the big toe may experience high pressures and be pushed out of alignment.

If you have had pain in your foot for at least a year, then it is time to consult your Doctor at Mountain Medical Centre
We may suggest seeing a podiatrist. We have one available on site Why don’t you call us to make an appointment 07 55452909 or book online right now to ease the pain.

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