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Foot Conditions


A bunion, known medically as hallux abductovalgus, develops when the big toe points toward the second toe, forming a bump on the foot's inside edge. The bump is made of extra bone that the body forms in a defensive mode. The bump is formed because the big toe is not pointing ahead and thus throws off the alignment of the bones. Bunions do not happen overnight, but gradually take shape. The angles of the bones slowly change over the years, producing the bump. Bunions are common, occurring in 30% of the population of Western countries. Researchers in Australia and England have shown that quality of life decreases as a bunion worsens.

At the site of the bunion, the patient may feel pain, a burning sensation, or even numbness. There may be inflammation as well. Bunions are usually visually apparent. However, x-rays are also taken to fully assess the condition. This can determine to what degree the bones are unaligned.

Treatment is available with or without surgery. After an initial consultation and a review of the patient’s x-rays, the proper route can be determined. Most non-surgical treatments are early therapies that may reduce pain but will not get rid of the bunion. A bunion’s treatments may include having the patient switch to wider shoes, applying ice to lessen the inflammation, inserting padding in the shoes, avoiding prolonged standing, and other methods  that the provider chooses. There are numerous surgical procedures for fixing bunions, most of which are modifications of each other. Some procedures involve removing the bump. Others correct the problematic areas of the bone structure.