Bunions(also referred to as Hallux Abducto Valgus) is an enlargment of the bone on the inside of the great toe joint. It may be only a bone growth or most commonly a combination of widening of the 1st intermetatarsal angle combined with bone growth. Basically, it means that the 1st metatarsal bone slowly moves away from the second metarsal due to muscle, tendon, and joint imbalances. It is most commonly an inherited problem and is worsened with improper shoes(e.g. high heels) and time. The big toe may slowly lean towards the second toe. In severe cases it underrides the second toe.
Common symptoms can be mild pain and redness to the joint to severe pain(shooting or throbbing) and swelling. Some people may develop some numbness as the nerve next to bunion gets irritated from the chronic pressure and inflammation. You should have a consulation with a podiatric physician if it becomes symptomatic and affecting your daily lifestyle(as surgery may be indicated).
X-rays can show the extra bone growth and measure the 1st intermetatarsal angle to assess its severity. Prince William Foot & Ankle Center, PC has a digital x-ray unit on site in our Gainesville, VA office and only takes a few minutes to take it.
Treatments include a wider toe box shoes, wearing flat shoes, and dress or sports orthotics to address the biomechanical faults and stabilize the foot. These treatments will only slow down the progression of the deformity and not stop it from worsening.
Surgical intervention is usually recommended if the pain is affecting your daily lifestyle or the deformity is affecting other areas of your feet. A variety of procedures can be performed and recovery varies from 4 wks for a simple bunionectomy to 8-12 wks for osteotomy procedures(the bone has to be cut and realigned with pins or screws).
Click on the link for more detailed information on Bunions.pdf