A bunion is the bony part that pokes out the side of the big toe joint as it progressively bends.
The severity of a bunion is often gauged by the angle of deviation at the toe. X-rays are helpful for this and can be ordered at the Waikato Podiatry Clinic Ltd.
The Manchester scale
Diagram adopted from Garrow et al.
What causes Bunions?
60-90% of bunions are genetic or inherited. They are more common in association with certain conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout, cerebral palsy and ligament laxity (or the loosening of ligaments). Footwear has often been blamed, but this condition can occur in people who don’t wear shoes. However shoes can, and do, exacerbate and aggravate a bunion.
Waikato Podiatry can help unravel the footwear puzzle in this area. Knowing what to look for in a shoe and where you can find the appropriate shoes makes a huge difference. Crowding at the toe of the shoe may also cause compression related problems such as corns, callouses and nerve impingements. These can be dealt with effectively.
Treatments are very individual but may include:
- Footwear advice and specialist footwear education and selection;
- Managing secondary lesions and foot pain caused by a bunion;
- Orthotics to help relieve the load on the bunion area and forefoot;
- Toe Separators to relieve pressure of affected joints;
- Manipulation to help restore correct toe alignment;
- Surgery to correct the bunion shape.
With over 150 different surgical procedures available, a skilled surgeon is an essential member of the treatment team. Conservative measures should be tried first, but surgery can help with advanced and chronically painful bunions. Waikato Podiatry has a good working relationship with skilled surgeons and can refer you to the appropriate specialist if surgery is recommended for your condition.