A bunion, also known as Hallux Valgus, is a deviation of the big toe joint. The big toe angles over towards the 2nd toe and in some cases may overlap or tuck underneath the 2nd toe. Not only does the bony alignment change, but the soft tissue around this joint becomes stretched and damaged. The cause of bunions is not always clear, however, bunions are often seen among family members and people who pronate excessively. A bunion may be associated with medical conditions such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. Footwear that is too narrow or high heels may exacerbate the symptoms of a bunion. Finding footwear that fits comfortably can be a major challenge for people with bunions. Bunions can be extremely painful for some people and may affect the stability of their foot during gait. Common symptoms include pain in the joint, restriction of joint movement, redness and swelling, tingling or burning in the big toe. In the elderly, bunions are associated with an increased risk of having falls. At the Perth Foot and Ankle Clinic, our Podiatrists can assess and advise you on treatment options. There are many conservative treatments available such as custom orthotics, footwear modification, protective padding and treatment of associated corns and/or callouses. A Podiatrist can also refer you for any appropriate investigations, the most common being x-ray.
Surgical correction of a bunion can be performed by Dr. Lee Gray (Podiatric Surgeon), who specialises in foot and ankle surgery. Correction of a bunion involves realignment of the joint by making an incision in the bone and moving it back into the correct position. Every bunion is unique and must be treated based on an individual assessment.