I have a lot of patients that come in to the office asking about those ‘bunion’ bumps on their feet. There are actually several ‘variations’ of these bumps! This month will be focused on bunions (hallux valgus), juvenile hallux valgus (kid’s bunions), and hallux limitus (arthritis in the big toe joint).
First up – The Classic Bunion! A bunion is formed when the relationship between the big toe (phalanx bone) and metatarsal bone is skewed. This is caused by a muscle imbalance. Jeopardy Fun Fact! – There are 10 muscles that attach at the big toe joint!
Muscle imbalance causes the bones to hit the ground differently to support our weight and weight bearing ability. Over time, the bones are unable to go back into the original position. If you have a concern about a bunion, there is no time like the present to get it checked out. There are a lot of conservative things we can do to help slow down the progression of this mechanical deformity…
1. Appropriate shoes – high heels do NOT cause bunions, but they DO make them worse. So if mom had a bunion, watch out for shoes that pinch those toes!
2. Custom orthotics – these devices, specially made for your feet, will help decrease the mechanical stress to the big toe joint.
3. Pads and Strappings – these devices can protect those bumps from rubbing and friction
4. Ice, Ice, Baby – applying ice to the joint can help with the inflammation and pain associated with bunions.
Surgery is ONLY an option when the bunion is painful enough to cause you to stop doing the things you love to do every day. Many times bunions do not hurt and the best way to keep them pain free is to follow steps 1-4 above!
For more information about bunions, bunion surgery (like Victoria Beckham had done!!), and conservative options, please contact Dr. Lockwood at Heartland Foot and Ankle Associates at 309-661-9975 or www.heartlandfootandankle.com.