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Hallux valgus (Bunion): General facts

Hallux valgus Bunion
  • Significantly more common in females
  • There is a genetic predisposition (70% have family history)
  • Shoewear (ie high heels and narrow shoes) influences the development of bunions by pushing against your big toe
    • This stretches out the soft tissue over time
  • A bunion has three components:
    • Angular deformity (zig-zag) between the big toe metatarsal and big toe proximal phalanx
    • Overgrowth of the metatarsal bone on the inside of the foot (medial eminence)
    • Widened angle between the first and second metatarsal
  • Patients often get pain on the inside of the foot with shoes and shooting pain from irritation of a small nerve near the bunion
  • If left untreated, it can cause deformity and pain in the smaller toes

Non-operative Treatment of Hallux valgus (bunion)

  • Should be tried with all bunions
  • Anti-inflammatories (Motrin, Alleve, Advil)
  • Wide toe box shoes
  • Various pads that prevent rubbing against the shoes
  • No non-surgical way to reverse the bunion

Operative Treatment of Hallux valgus (bunion)

  • Surgery is recommended in patients with:
    • Continued pain despite non-surgical treatment
    • Rapidly progressive deformity
    • Painful changes in the smaller toes
  • Surgery should not be performed for cosmetic reasons
  • Bunions can be corrected in many ways but all procedures are similar in that you:
    • Release the soft tissue contracture
    • Make cuts in the bone to realign the bunion
    • Hold the correction with screws and/or plates
  • The specific bunion procedure best for you is dictated by subtle findings in your exam or X-ray
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