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The foot problem that people tend to be embarrassed about: Bunions. They are more common than you think, and you do not have to be shy about it. However, understanding this condition will definitely allow you to control the fate of your bunion!

Bunion is an overgrown bone?

Often described as a bump on the side of the big toe, bunions, are also known as Hallux Valgus or Hallux abducto valgus amongst health professionals. They are a misalignment of the bones.It happens when the hallux (the big toe) leans towards the second toe instead of pointing forwards, causing a bulge to form. This malformation is actually the head of the metatarsal bone protruding.

Bunions are progressive. They usually begin as a mild protrusion at the joint, and becomes increasingly prominent over the years as the bones gradually changes its angle. In more severe cases, the second toe can overlaps the big toe.

My shoes caused my bunion to form?

Bad shoes exacerbate the symptoms and may seem to be the primary causing factor to many. They are not the root cause of bunions but may worsen any existing deformity. Most with bunions cite a strong family history over several generations. One inherits a foot type/ genetic factors/ walking pattern that impact the mechanical composition of the foot that makes them more susceptible to developing a bunion.

Only old people have bunions?

Unfortunately, people of all age groups can develop bunions. Bunions can develop much earlier in life, and may become quite pronounced by the teenage years. Many people do not seek treatment for their bunions until the joint becomes stiff, and arthritic and causes problems with mobility. So, if you notice a bunion in your child or even in your youth, it is wise to see a podiatrist for an assessment to slow down or stop the progression.

Only women get bunions, right?

Sorry dudes, you can get them too. Though bunions may be more prevalent amongst women and the elderly, a proportion of men also suffer from bunions. Men generally have fewer symptoms due to their footwear options. It is easier for men to find shoes with the appropriate features without sacrificing style, whilst women tend to be caught up with fashion and may wear narrow toe box shoes or high heel shoes; shoes providing less support and cushioning, and may exacerbate one’s bunion issues.

People with bunions have to go through surgery?

Depending on the severity of the bunion, conservative prevention may be the best approach to combat this deformity. Many people may unnecessarily suffer the pain of bunions for years before seeking treatment. Hence, early checks and treatment can be useful in preventing the progression of their signs and symptoms.

Early treatments are aimed at preventing the progression of the deformity, and prevent pain. However, they will not reverse the changes that have already occurred. At the Melbourne Foot, Ankle and Walking Clinic, we provide minimally invasive treatment methods and advice. However, if you are at your wit’s end and have tried everything to alleviate your pains, surgery may be an option.

The fate of your bunion lies in your hands!