When you look down and see that egg sticking out by the base of your big toe, you may wonder how it formed. On the surface all you see is the bump sticking out and sometimes some redness over it. This is what we refer to as a bunion. If all we had to fix was the bump, all the bunions would be approximately the same. Underneath, however, what is really going on, is your bones have shifted and you will usually see your great toe drifting toward your second toe.
An X-ray will give us information about the angles that have changed between the metatarsals and the toe bones, the phalanges. Determining the angles gives us the picture of the degree of bunion deformity you have developed, and thus the extent of surgery that would be required to fix the problem.
In many cases, the bump is more toward the top of the foot. In this instance, pain is usually worse with heeled shoes, or any attempt to go up on the toes or crouch down on the ball of the foot.
In this case, the X-rays will show more of a spur on top of the great toe joint, and as the condition progresses there is degeneration of the joint with loss of space between the toe and the metatarsal bone.
Treatment: Initial treatment is often conservative and may include orthotics (prescriptive foot supports), change in shoes or physical therapy. If the problem is more severe, or unresponsive to conservative measures, surgery may be indicated.
Finally, if the bump and pain is more to the top of the foot, a condition called hallux rigidus (rigid or decreasing motion). This condition is progressive and earlier surgical intervention is usually recommended to save the joint.
While all bunions aren’t created equal, our attention to your problem will receive the same focus and care regardless of the condition you have. We will provide you with the best education regarding the latest advances in podiatric medicine so that you may make a healthy choice to resolve your foot problems as quickly as possible.