Hallux valgus deformity of the big toe: the basic principles of bunion treatment

Women are more commonly affected by this disease. It's caused by a number of factors — there is a displacement of the phalanx of the big toe relative to the metatarsal bone, which leads to deformation of the foot.

 Which causes have led to onset this disease?

The primary factor is considered to be the hereditary weakness of the ligamentous apparatus. In this case, the angle between the cartilage surfaces of the bones changes under the influence of external damaging factors and/or somatic diseases, and the foot is deformed.

Arthritis and arthrosis, hormonal changes in the body during pregnancy, endocrine diseases (diabetes mellitus), foot traumas, being overweight, some systemic diseases (gout, for example), wearing uncomfortable shoes, and professions connected with a strong load on the feet (i.e., ballerinas, dancers, athletes, etc.) also often lead to Hallux Valgus deformity of the big toe, commonly called a bunion.

How to identify Hallux Valgus

Diagnosing this is possible on the basis of the examination when the characteristic deformation is visible: It's a protruding overgrowth of the joint of the metatarsal bone and the phalanx of the big toe. Complications may include bursitis of the big toe, with a pain syndrome of varying severity. Based on these basic criteria and the collected medical history, it is possible to accurately diagnose this pathology.

What are the primary approaches to bunion treatment?

Analgesics and anti-inflammatory medications are indicated in the presence of inflammation and severe pain. However, they act on the symptoms — the main treatment should be aimed at eliminating the causes and normalizing the patient's general state.

 An orthopedic solution in bunion treatment of this problem provides a good effect if using:

Massage and daily special physical activities have also demonstrated positive results.

It is necessary to treat chronic diseases, maintain a stable condition, and ensure that relapses don't happen. This can be achieved by controlling the levels of uric acid and blood glucose, maintaining a normal body weight, staying away from bad habits, and getting appropriate levels of nutrition.

In cases where conservative treatment is ineffective, the only remaining option is surgical intervention. The correct operation must be selected from a wide variety of available techniques. Depending on the bunion condition, surgeons can remove the bony growths in the joint — however, proximal and distal metatarsal osteotomy is often conducted for correction of moderate to severe Hallux Valgus deformity. The metatarsal bone is cut, shifted to the desired angle, and fixed. This strengthens the ligamentous apparatus and allows the toe to be placed in the correct position. After the surgery, it is mandatory to wear a special bandage, and restorative therapy is prescribed.

Treatment of Hallux Valgus deformity of the big toe goes a long way toward solving this problem, and rehabilitation measures must also be carried out.

Dr. Alex Yanovskiy at Illinois Foot & Ankle Clinic is a highly skilled and an experienced podiatric physician who conducts complex successful treatment of this pathology selecting personalized therapies for each patient.

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