What is a bunion?
A bunion (also know as hallux abducto valgus) is a condition that affects the bones and joints of the great toe. It appears as a bony prominence on the inside margin of your forefoot, which can get red, swollen and painful. There are 4 stages to a bunion; which range from being a mild deviation of the great toe (stage 1) to a complete dislocation of the joint (stage 4). This can also cause overlapping of the second toe on to the first toe.
Bunions are a common problem; roughly thirty percent of the population suffers from bunions. Bunions arise due to abnormal foot function, leading to a gradual dislocation of the joint. They can also relate to heredity, different forms of arthritis, narrow-toed shoes and high heels and other foot-related problems. Bunions can also occur on the small toe side, commonly called a bunionette or a tailor’s bunion. Either way, they often worsen and may require surgery, unless you take action.
Simple ways to reduce the pain is by applying a cold pack to the area a few times a day to help reduce swelling and inflammation. Some people choose to use anti-inflammatory medication to help with the pain. Choosing shoes with heels between 1-2 inches in height helps, as well as wider fitting shoes. Any shoe or slipper lacking proper support can aggravate bunions. The best course of action to resolve the problem that is causing the deformation is to visit your foot care specialist. A qualified chiropodist will assess your particular situation and make corrective suggestions. Some common suggestions from a chiropodist include proper fitting footwear to alleviate pressure, bunion shield pads, bunion night splints or custom made orthotics, which helps stabilize the foot and minimizes stress on the affected joints.