Hallux Valgus is a condition 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, rapidly increasing or excessive body weight and footwear selection can contribute to poor stability.
TIPS FOR HALLUX VALGUS
Shoe selection is vital to slow the progression of the condition – see our recommendations of the “Best running shoes for bunions“.
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 ABOUT HALLUX VALGUS
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 squeezing the toes together.
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, supportive shoes and/or 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.