Bunions have the medical name Hallux Valgus. It refers to a bony swelling at the base of the big toe. A bunion occurs when the big toe angles in towards the middle of the foot, causing the base of the big toe joint to stick out from the side of the foot.
Although generally regarded as a condition that occurs in older people, they can affect children too.
Chris Parish, our Orthopaedic Podiatrist, has more than two decades of experience successfully treating hallux valgus in adults and children of all ages. To make an appointment to see Chris about a bunion, please call us, email us or use our simple online form.
Bunion Causes And Treatments
Hallux Valgus in Adults
A bunion is a bony swelling at the base of the big toe. They occur when the big toe angles in towards the middle of the foot and the second toe, causing the base of the big toe joint to stick out from the side. Wearing badly fitting shoes used to be thought to be a possible cause. However, there is a tribe in Africa who never wear shoes and who still suffer from the problem!
We now know that hallux valgus are caused by poor function, usually as a result of excessive pronation (where your foot rolls inwards) and excessive motion. There may also be a genetic or hereditary tendency to have a weakness in this area of the foot and in some cases it is associated with joint problems such as arthritis.
Typically symptoms include inflammation and swelling at the base of the toe, tenderness in the affected area and if pain is severe, difficulty walking. Tight or badly fitting shoes tend to make symptoms worse and sometimes the foot may become so wide it can be difficult to find shoes that fit.
Treatment for Bunions in Adults
Once your Orthopaedic Podiatrist has examined your foot he will discuss with you the various treatment options available. Long term treatment is usually in the form of custom–made orthotic insoles. These will be tailored to fit your feet exactly to help align the toes and control overpronation and excessive movement.
Wearing good footwear will also help to ease any discomfort.
Surgery to straighten your big toe may be necessary if footwear and orthotics alone do not resolve the problem.
Hallux Valgus in Children (Juvenile Bunions)
Juvenile Bunions, as the name suggests, is the name given to hallux valgus in children, especially teenagers. They occur when the joint at the base of the big toe moves out of alignment and leans inwards to the middle of the foot.
When a child is affected, it is common for your child’s foot to roll inwards – this is called overpronation – which causes excessive motion and a splaying or spreading of the bones in the foot, the metatarsals. Typically your child will be lax or loose-jointed.
Juvenile Hallux Valgus are not necessarily painful but if left untreated they can cause inflammation and swelling at the base of the toe, tenderness and difficulty walking. Tight or badly fitting shoes will make symptoms worse and sometimes the foot may become so wide it can be difficult to find shoes that fit.
Treatment for Juvenile Hallux Valgus
Once your Orthopaedic Podiatrist has examined your child’s foot he will discuss with you the various treatment options available.
The most common treatment for juvenile hallux valgus is custom–made orthotic insoles to align your child’s toes and control overpronation and excessive movement. It is important for the insoles to be tailored exactly to your child’s feet so as to provide maximum support.
Well-fitting shoes that do not rub against the affected area will help to minimize any discomfort.
Surgery in children is not usually recommended.