Bunions are a medical condition that usually affects the foot toe. They are often caused by incorrect foot mechanics. At West Vancouver Foot Clinic, we use the latest technology to help diagnose your condition and provide you with the best possible treatment.
In the front of the foot, the joint at the base of the great toe is the most complex. Here the bones, tendons and ligaments work together to transmit and distribute the body’s weight, especially during movement. Should this joint become abnormally stressed over an extended period, a bunion deformity may result.
Causes and Symptoms
A bunion is most often a symptom of faulty mechanics of the foot. The deformity runs in families, but it is the foot type that is hereditary, not the bunion. Bunions also may be associated with various forms of arthritis.
Pain from a bunion can be mild, moderate or severe, making it difficult to walk in normal shoes. The skin and deeper tissues around the bunion also may be swollen or inflamed. The other toes can be affected by a bunion as a result of pressure from the great toe pushing inward toward the lesser toes.
The main goal of early treatment is to relieve pressure on the bunion and smaller toes and to diminish the progression of joint deformities. Padding the bunion is an important first step, as is wearing shoes that are large enough to accommodate the bunion comfortably. Medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or cortisone injections may be prescribed to ease pain and inflammation caused by joint deformities. If caught early enough, custom-moulded orthotics can be prescribed to control the further progression of the deformity and joint disease.
A Hallux Valgus splint may also be an effective preventative measure in the early stages of the bunion deformity.
When conservative treatment does not provide satisfactory relief from symptoms, or when the condition interferes with your daily activities, surgery may be necessary. Pain and deformity are significantly reduced in the majority of patients who undergo bunion surgery. In addition to easing pain, the purpose of the bunion surgery is to remove the enlargement and realign the joint to restore normal function.
Bunion surgical corrections are conducted at the West Vancouver Foot Clinic outpatient surgical suite.