The Root Causes to Bunions
Bunions or hallux abductovalgus is a foot deformity. It arises from a hereditary trait. Certain foot type, like flat feet, can accelerate the deformity. In that particular scenario, muscle imbalance and the biomechanics of the feet can lead to the advancement of the deformity.
Why Do Bunions Hurt So Much?
Bunions occur when the angle between the first and second metatarsals widen, causing the width of the feet to be wider. When it occurs at the fifth metatarsal from the fourth metatarsal, it is called a bunionette, or a Tailor’s bunion. The metatarsal head abuts against the shoes, making the bump hurts due to bursitis or nerve compression to this area. Some patients have joint pain as well. Osteoarthritis can develop from the malposition of the big toe over time.
Factors that add to the bunion pain include tapered dress shoes, exerted activities and even the foot type that a person has, like flat foot. Flat feet cause a person to land on the arches. In this position, the foot places a lot more pressure to the bunion area and along the inside column of the foot; thus it hurts more at the bump.
Conservative Treatment for Bunions
Treatment for bunions include wider shoes and padding to the bunion bump to prevent pressure against the shoes. Custom orthotics can address the pedal biomechanics to slow the progression of the condition. Conservative treatment has its limitation, but it does help relieve the pain. Of note, do not fall for the over-the counter products, like bunion splints, that claim to straighten out the deformity. And toe spacers at night do not undo the deformity. Bunions are bone deformities that require surgery to definitively straighten the metatarsal.
Surgical Intervention for Bunions
The procedure to correct bunions is called a bunionectomy. Surgery is performed at an outpatient setting, that is usually performed under monitored anesthesia care. Depending on the severity of the deformity and the surgeon’s recommendation, most people can walk immediately after the procedure in a surgical shoe or walking boot. It takes about six weeks in general to heal a bunionectomy. You can expect to have a narrower foot type with a return to functional level without pain.
Dr. Dang H. Vu, DPM is a Baltimore Podiatrist with more than 18 years of experience. He completed his residency at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore, where he furthered his surgical expertise. He now holds privileges at Northwest Hospital. He offers services from three Baltimore Locations in Reisterstown, Towson and Hampden. You can find directions and request an appointment on his website FamilyPodiatryofMD.com