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A bunion, also known as hallux valgus, is a bony bump or swelling that forms at the base of the big toe (hallux). It usually occurs when pressure placed on the big toe causes it to push against the second toe, gradually resulting in a deformity in which the big toe joint gets bigger and protrudes from its normal position.
Bunions develop slowly and are relatively unnoticeable in mild cases. However, it can worsen significantly if left untreated. The effects can be severe and debilitating to one’s daily life. Some symptoms to take note of are:
While most cases of bunions have been linked to hereditary reasons, i.e. having a foot structure prone to bunions, they are often made worse by trauma from squeezing the feet into ill-fitting shoes. Below are some contributing factors:
Foot injuries and high-stress activities are also found to contribute to bunion formation. Additionally, women are also more prone to developing bunions than men, particularly due to their tendency of wearing high heels.
Bunion treatment comes in various forms, all of which seek to alleviate pain and relieve pressure from the big toe joint.
Bunion surgery is recommended if the pain worsens or does not subside, or if the deformity is already too severe to resolve non-invasively. The different types of bunion surgery available are:
In most cases, minimally invasive surgery is recommended. This means lesser pain, risks and downtime. Typically, patients will be able to walk slowly by themselves within a few days.
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