An Overview To Bunions| Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Bunions are a common disorder not only for Singaporeans but also around the world. Although most women suffer from it, bunions never choose their victims. Men and elderlies are also vulnerable to bunions. To help you understand, here is a quick guide about bunions:

What are Bunions?

Hallux valgus or a bunion is a bony bump that appears at the base of the big toe. In most cases, both feet develop bunions. The development of bunions is gradual, that is why many people only get it treated at their old age. However, the protruding bump is already noticeable among adults. 

What Causes Bunions?

According to ankle specialists in Singapore and abroad, the main cause of bunions is the misalignment of the big toe bone; pointing towards the direction of the second toe. It happens when the metatarsophalangeal joint or the joint located at the base of the big toe grows larger to the extent that it protrudes to the outer side of the foot; forcing and pushing the big toe to face towards the second toe. 

What Are The Symptoms of Bunions?

These several symptoms are felt if you are suffering from bunions:

  • Bump at the base of the big toe. This bump is the inflamed and enlarged metatarsophalangeal joint located at the base of the big toe.
  • Swelling and redness of the big toe. The swollen joint may produce sharp pain and soreness to your feet that may affect your mobility if left neglected.
  • Callous on the bump. Callous and corn may develop on the bump if left unattended.
  • Limited big toe movement. People with bunions may feel movement restrictions and stiffness in the big toe affecting their mobility and other footwork.

Who is at risk of bunions?

  • People who have bunions in the family. Unfortunately, a bunion is a foot disorder that can be passed through genetics. If you have a family member who has bunions, you are most likely to develop one.
  • Women. Women are more prone to develop bunions as they wear high-heels and squeezing shoes frequently than men. Although wearing poor-fitting shoes for a long time doesn’t cause bunions, it contributes greatly to the progression of the foot disorder.
  • People with other foot conditions. People with foot conditions like Achilles’ tendonitis and rheumatoid arthritis are more likely to develop bunions. These conditions weaken the foot structure, thus making it vulnerable to bunions.

What are the complications of bunions?

If left unattended, bunions may lead to other more severe foot disorders.

  • Bursitis. Bursitis is the inflammation of a fluid-filled sac located at the base of the big toe. It causes sharp pain and swelling.
  • Hammertoe. It is a deformity caused by the contraction of the second or third toe.

What are the other types of bunions?

  • Congenital hallux valgus is the inborn type of bunions. Babies are mostly affected by it.
  • Adolescent bunions often develop among teenagers with ages ranging between 10 to 15 years olds. 
  • Bunionette or the Tailor’s bunion is the opposite of bunions. This type of bunion develops at the base of the smallest toe.

Diagnosis

Ankle specialist in Singapore conducts different tests and exams to diagnose bunions. Patients need to visit an orthopaedic clinic in Singapore for the right diagnosis.

  • Physical examination

Your ankle specialist in Singapore will conduct a physical examination to determine the complications of your bunions. Your doctor may ask your other health background and history for additional information.

  • X-Ray

It is likely for your doctor to require you a foot x-ray which you can get in an orthopaedic clinic in Singapore to precisely determine the severity of your bunions. Your specialist may subject you to bunion surgery in Singapore or a non-invasive treatment depending on the result. 

Bunions Treatment

Bunions can be treated in two ways: surgical and non-surgical. The treatment will depend on the severity of your bunion case.

Non-Surgical Treatment

  • Footwear Changes

Your ankle specialist in Singapore may recommend you to wear shoes with lower heels and less compressing. Your doctor may add specific insoles to prevent the progression of bunions. Lighter shoes with heel support are preferable.

  • Ice Packs

Ice packs may help to reduce the swelling and redness. It also provides temporary pain relief to the affected area. It should be done daily, at least 20 minutes per session. 

  • Padding

Your doctor may suggest bunion pads that you can buy in pharmacies. These paddings will help cushion the bump to prevent pain from walking and other activities.

  • Medication

To relieve the pain and inflammation, your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory and non-steroidal drugs. These drugs are prescribed to people with other foot issues like arthritis.

  • Injections

Steroid injections are used to reduce the pain and inflammation of the bunion. Although this kind of treatment often has side effects.

  • Physical Therapy

Exercises and other massages will help in rehabilitating and aligning the foot structure of a bunion patient. 

Surgical Treatment

If your ankle specialists think your case is severe, he or she may recommend getting a bunion surgery in an orthopaedic clinic in Singapore.

  • Open-foot bunionectomy 

Open-foot bunionectomy is the most common bunion surgery in Singapore. The swollen joint and bone at the base of the big toe are cut and removed. Pins, wires and plates are installed to realign the foot structure. The recovery period of an open-foot bunionectomy takes at least two months. Orthopaedic clinics in Singapore offer this procedure.

  • Minimally-invasive bunionectomy 

This procedure uses a specialised instrument to remove bunions through smaller incisions. It has a shorter recovery period. You can return to your normal activities immediately with a few limitations including less intense footwork and heavy lifting. Orthopaedic clinics in Singapore offer this procedure.

People often ignore or forget that bunion is a treatable foot disorder. Give your foot and ankle extra care. At Specialist Orthopaedic Centre, you get extensive and effective foot and ankle orthopaedic care to improve your mobility and flexibility. Book an appointment at the Specialist Orthopaedic Centre now!