Hallux valgus (Bunion) – not inherited from your mother!

Hallux valgus
  • This condition is characterised by thickening and angulation of the big toe joint (known as 1st MTP) as well as pain and swelling around the joint
  • The condition is progressive (ie. the angulation is not reversible) but the rate of progress can be slowed significantly with appropriate changes
  • This condition is due to poor foot stability (excessive and/or rapid collapse of arch during weight-bearing)
    • Bony alignment, body weight and footwear selection can contribute to poor stability

TIPS

  • Shoe selection is vital to slow the progression of the condition
    • Shoes should have adequate room around the toe area and offer some support to assist control of pronation
  • Stability exercises in loaded/weight-bearing positions help control the excessive load on the big toe joint
  • Soft orthotics can provide rapid relief of soreness and assist in minimising flare ups with exercise

MYTHS

  • Genetics are not solely responsible for the formation of bunions – they contribute to a number of risk factors but they don’t directly cause the condition
  • Pointy-toed shoes won’t cause the angulation of the toe – they are generally unstable and create poor foot mechanics but they won’t cause bunions simply due to pressure on the toe
  • There are no guaranteed fixes for bunions – it depends on your contributing factors and severity of the condition
    • In early stages, exercises are very effective
    • With moderate advancement, orthotics are required for improvement foot mechanics as the angulation makes the foot less effective at stabilising itself
    • In advanced cases with severe angulation, surgery may be the best option

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