Bunions are very common! More than 15% of women in the UK have them. The clinical term used to describe a bunion is Hallux Abducto Valgus. The hallux is the big toe, abducto describes the movement of the toe away from where it should sit and a valgus position is deformed one, hence, Hallux Abducto Valgus or HAV to medical practitioners. So really a bunion is when the big toe joint changes and the big toe moves towards the little toes.
Patients are often born with bunions but they can also develop over the course of time with increased load applied through the feet. There is no one cause of bunions, they are most often caused by a defective mechanical structure in the foot and these certain foot types make a person prone to development of a bunion. Bunions are usually hereditary, meaning that it is likely a parent will have them too. Bunions are often associated with other neuromuscular conditions including cerebral palsy and connective tissue disorders. It is well known bad shoes are bad for your feet, however, poorly fitting shoes will only aggravate a bunion rather than be the primary cause of it!
Many patients experience no pain with bunions, but others find that they are ruining their life. Surgery is the last resort for patients with bunions and your podiatrist will help you to prevent your feet from needing it. There are different ways to treat HAV including; orthoses, night splints, exercising and Foot Mobilisation Technique.
Tips to avoid bunions:
- Wear appropriate fitting shoes.
- Stretching after exercising.
- Wear heels less than 4cm for daily use.
- Vary heights of heel.
- Wear shoes with a strap or lace to avoid excessive movement in the shoe.