What Are Bunion Deformities?
A bunion deformity (more formally known as hallux valgus) is progressive disorder that results in the formation of bony projection or bump on the side of the big toe. The gradual appearance of the bump reflects the alterations that take place in the bony framework in the front part of the foot. This alteration mainly occurs in the first metatarsal bone when it turns outward, which forces the big toe to point inward, towards the other toes. This kind of change causes the bones to get out of alignment, which results in the bump.
Given that the bunion deformity is a progressive condition, it usually begins with the big toe leaning into the other toes, which gradually results in the characteristic bump that becomes increasingly apparent over time. Moreover, symptoms usually appear at later stages, even though bunions may go without any symptoms.
What Are the Causes of Bunions?
The most common cause of bunion deformities is faulty mechanical foot structure that causes abnormal stress to be placed on the bones of the foot. This directly results in the changes that happen in the bony framework of the foot.
It is sometimes said that bunions are genetically inherited, however, the condition of bunions cannot be inherited and is not genetically linked. However, instead it is the foot structure that is genetically inherited that makes one prone to developing a bunion deformity. In other words, if you have inherited a foot structure that may have mechanical abnormalities, you have a higher chance of developing a bunion deformity even if no one in your family had bunions.
In addition, wearing tight toes if you have a bunion deformity can potentially increase the rate of progression of the condition and causes the bunion bump to get larger more quickly and symptoms may appear sooner. However, wearing tight toes will not actually cause bunions directly.
Dr. Syamak Yamini in Porter Ranch, Encino, and Los Angeles can provide a comprehensive foot examination to inform you of any possible structural foot abnormalities that could be elevating your chances of developing bunions.
What Are the Symptoms?
The main symptoms occur at the site of the bunion near the big toe, which include:
- Pain and soreness
- Inflammation and redness
- Burning sensation
Symptoms are more likely to appear in tight shoes like the ones with a tight toe box or high heels that tend to crowd the toes. For this reason, women are more likely to experince symptoms associated with bunions than men. In addition, being on your feet for extended periods can aggravate the symptoms of bunions.
How Are Bunions Diagnosed?
Bunions, especially the ones in later stages, can typically be diagnosed by a physical examination given the prominent bump at the base of the big toe and the side of the foot. However, to completely evaluate the condition, Dr. Syamak Yamini located in Porter Ranch, Encino, and Los Angeles will take X-rays to determine the severity of the deformity and assess the changes that have taken place in the bones of the foot.
As with most medical conditions, the sooner a bunion is diagnosed, the easier it is to treat it and slow down its progression as more treatment options are available at the earlier stages.
An important note to keep in mind is because bunions are progressive, once they have formed, they will not go away and will most likely get worse over time. However, not all cases of bunions are the same as some bunions tend to progress faster than others.
What Are the Treatment Options for Bunions?
There are various conservative treatment options available that aim to treat the symptoms associated with bunions such as pain and inflammation, but they will not reverse the bunion deformity itself. These treatments include:
- Changes in shoewear: using wide-toe box shoes
- Padding: pads placed over affected areas
- Activity modifications: avoiding aggravating activities
- Anti-inflammatory Medication: to reduce inflammation
- Icing: to reduce inflammation and pain
- Custom Orthotics: alleviate foot misalignments
When all conservative treatment options have failed to help with the pain of the bunion, surgical treatment options may be used to correct the bunion and alleviate the pain.
Dr. Syamak Yamini located in Porter Ranch, Encino, and Los Angeles performs a wide variety of surgical procedures to treat bunions. The surgical operation aims to remove the bump and correcting the changes that have taken place in the bony framework of the foot.
To determine the most optimal procedure to be performed, Dr. Syamak Yamini will consider your symptoms, extend of your deformity radiographically, your lifestyle, and other factors.