A bunion is the bony deformity that occurs at the base of the big toe. Bunions often form in response to changes in the joint position of the big toe, referred to as Hallux Valgus. This joint change can be painful and disruptive, causing crowding of the lesser toes, widening of the forefoot and difficulties fitting footwear.
What is Hallux Valgus?
Hallux valgus occurs when the joint of the great toe moves out of alignment. This movement causes the joint to deviate towards the lesser toes, and the joint centre to move towards the midline. Several factors, such as footwear, genetics, and structural factors, can all play a role in hallux valgus’ development.
Is Hallux Valgus the same as a bunion?
While they often go hand-in-hand, hallux valgus and a bunion are actually two separate issues. Hallux valgus refers to the position of the joint, whereas a bunion refers to the bony bump that often forms when the joint changes position. An individual may have one without the other, but they often occur together.
What about bunions on the other side of the foot?
Some people can also form a bunion on the baby toe side of the foot, often referred to as a bunionette. While smaller, these bony protrusions can be equally as painful and disruptive.
What do people with Hallux valgus experience?
Hallux valgus affects each person slightly differently, but there are some common symptoms that many people experience:
- Joint stiffness
- Joint swelling
- Joint pain
- Difficult climbing or descending stairs
- Decreased joint range of motion
Learn more about the symptoms of Hallux Valgus and Bunion Pain, by reading the SoleScience guide.
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Risk Factors of Hallux Valgus
Unfortunately, hallux valgus has a genetic component that none of us can control. If Hallux valgus runs in your family, you are at a higher risk of developing it. Other risk factors include:
chance of developing hallux valgus increases with age.
studies suggest that females are at a higher risk, which might be linked in part to footwear choices.
repetitive or traumatic injuries may increase the risk of bunions.
exercise or occupations that increase the stress on the great toe may increase the risk of hallux valgus.
What can I do to relieve my bunion pain?
To relieve pain associated with bunions, early treatment and management is important and may provide greater joint stability and slow progression over time. Early intervention also assists in the management of pain. SoleScience offers the following conservative treatment options to help relieve bunion pain:
- Custom orthotics & orthotic insoles
- Toe spacers
- Accommodative footwear
- Day & Night Bunion splints
- Physiotherapy and stretching protocols
- Medications and injections
In severe cases, surgical interventions may be necessary. These interventions should be discussed with your care team after conservative options have been exhausted.
For even more helpful information, check out our Injury Locator.
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