Hallux Valgus

November 12, 2012

Hallux Valgus

Hallux valgus, or bunion, occurs when the big toe points towards the second toe. This causes a bump on the outside edge of your toe. It is common in people with congenital bone abnormalities.

Causes

Hallux valgus is common in women, especially those who wear narrow-toed and high-heeled shoes. You may also be genetically predisposed to the condition. Individuals born with a flat foot or those with a family history of the disease are at a greater risk of developing hallux valgus. It may get painful as the condition worsens and an extra bone and fluid-filled sac grow next to the big toe.

The condition affects 1 percent adults in the United States. The risk increases with age.

Symptoms

Hallux valgus symptoms include red, calloused skin along the edge of the big toe; painful bump at the site and big toe turned toward other toes. This is a progressive disorder, and the symptoms worsen with time. Most doctors can diagnose the condition by looking at it. A foot x-ray will indicate abnormal angle between the big toe and the foot. Pain at the base of the toe in the metatarsophalangeal joint may indicate hallux valgus deformity. Pain in this big toe joint, along with the turning of your big toe toward the others, almost always indicates bunion.

Treatment

You can slow down the progression of hallux valgus by wearing wide-toed shoes, and felt and foam pads on your foot. Your doctor may also recommend spacers to separate the first and second toes. Surgical intervention may be required if the bunion gets worse and more painful. There are more than 100 different surgical procedures to treat this condition. However, individuals with active infection, septic arthritis, osteoarthropathy and myocardial infarction may not be eligible for the surgery.

You should remember that your feet bear the weight of your entire body. Hence, it is important to take care of your feet and talk to a doctor immediately if you experience any symptoms. Do not think of the leaning big toe as a temporary problem. Individuals with a family history of hallux valgus should talk to their doctor right away.

Teenagers have more trouble dealing with bunion when compared to adults. You may not be able to wear narrow and highly fashionable shoes even after the treatment and surgical intervention are complete. Preventing the compression of the toes with narrow shoes can lower your risk of the disease.

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