Deformity of the joint behind the big toe is known as a bunion. When the condition just starts, it looks like the joint has swollen a little bit and the patient does not feel any pain. However, progression of the bunion increases the size of this deformity and the big toe starts to drift to the second toe. Becoming larger, the bunion usually causes discomfort when the person wears shoes. Shoes irritate the deformed joint and cause redness of the skin. Further progression of the bunion makes the foot larger than normal and unfit for any shoe. A person suffering from bunions may also experience “hammer” second toe, which becomes irritated by any shoe and usually forms the corn.
What Causes Bunions?
Although many people blame shoes, they are rarely the cause of this problem. In most cases, the real cause of bunions is our genetic predisposition, since bunions are inherited. Besides that, compensation of the foot to walk comfortably is also known to contribute to this problem.
Even people whose family does not have bunions may develop this foot problem. Different traumas to the joint, ligaments, bones or repeated small injuries of the feet may be responsible for the formation of bunions. Malformations during pregnancy have also been identified as a cause of bunions.
How to Prevent?
Bunions grow very slowly and they usually take years to develop. Because of that, it is extremely important to look after your feet early in life. Parents should look after their children’s shoes in order to prevent problems in their adult life, including the problem with bunions and especially more if bunions are present in your family.
Exercise your feet and make them stronger and you will be less susceptible to bunions. Always make sure to wear properly fitted shoes. Do not wear shoes that pinch or cramp your toes and avoid pointed toe or high heel shoes.
If bunion is diagnosed in early stages, before any major deformity, its progression can be prevented. Doctors usually recommend functional orthotic devices which can control the deformity to some extent.
First of all, people with bunions should wear wider shoes. Bunions with minimal deformities should be regularly controlled and these patients are supposed to wear functional orthotic devices. Significant deformation of the joint behind the big toe is usually treated surgically.
Results of the surgical procedure depend on the cause and severity of bunions. The surgical procedure is usually done under local anesthesia, as minimally invasive surgery.