What is a bunion?
A bunion is one of the most painful and problematic foot conditions of the foot. A bunion is an abnormal swollen bump that appears on the joint at the base of the big toe.
What causes a bunion?
This is a condition that is thought to be genetically inherited but exacerbated by a number of factors.
- Poor fitting footwear
- Tight high heeled footwear
- Sports related activities
- The amount of time we stand during the day
- Being overweight.
- Flat feet (Poor biomechanics)
What you can do to prevent yourself from developing a bunion:
Prevention of developing bunions is of our outmost concern. With the correct regime of treatment the severity of the bunion deformity developing can be reduced.
If you already have a bunion we believe with podiatry treatment we can slow the progression of the deformity down.
Your big toe is your pivot point. Without propulsion through this joint, you will inevitably damage other parts of your foot as they compensate. You will also damage the alignment of your knees, hip and back. Damage to this joint can increase your risk of falling, which in turn you could break a hip or other joints in your body.
The skin overlying the bunion can also become irritated due to the pressure inside your shoes. This area can commonly become infected and ulcerate. This area of the foot is very hard to heal as the blood supply is impaired and healing can take a long time. It is also expensive to have it dressed every day and causes pain and inconvenience.
The first thing we would look at is the range of shoes you wear and give footwear advice. We are mindful that some of you will not give up your high heeled shoes but can give advice on shoes that can be worn for other hours of the day.
Orthotic treatment is a very important facet of bunion deformity prevention.
Orthotics are arch supports that can be custom made to fit some of your shoes. Orthotics work by taking the pressure off the big toe joint and redistributing the weight more evenly through your mid and rear foot. By taking the stress off this joint it is less likely to become inflamed and irritated which is how bunions develop over time.
Damage can be developing in this big toe joint from a young age but the consequences of the damage is often not noticed or felt until later in life.
Surgery to fix a bunion is an option but not always the best one.
An orthopaedic surgeon will use pins, wires and screws to fix this joint. This takes away much of the pivot of this joint and so you will lose significant amount of propulsion through your foot. This can cause other joints in your body to compensate and unfortunately cause you pain and may increase the likelihood of requiring surgery to your knees and hips. Your risk of falling also dramatically increases.
Prevention is so much better than cure
If you are suffering from bunion pain, call Kew Foot Clinic on 03 9853 6877 to make an appointment for the appropriate treatment.