WHAT IS A BUNION?

A bunion is formed when the big toe pushes against the next toe. Tight shoes, foot stress, and arthritis are causes. The main symptoms are bone deformity, pain, and stiffness.  As bunions begin to form, one may notice a slight reddish coloration on the skin near the big toe joint. Symptoms can progress and become more severe with a more prominent bump at the joint taking shape, which can also lead to the big toe deviating under the lesser toes.

Symptoms

In the early stages of bunion formations, symptoms may not be noticeable. As bunions progress, most people notice a bony bump with red coloration. If left untreated, symptoms progress and may eventually cause other deformities within the foot.

The signs and symptoms of a bunion include:

  • A bulging bump on the outside of the base of your big toe
  • Swelling, redness or soreness around your big toe joint
  • Corns or calluses — these often develop where the first and second toes overlap
  • Persistent or intermittent pain
  • Restricted movement of your big toe if arthritis affects the toe
  • Difficulty walking

WHAT CAUSES THEM?

There are many theories about how bunions develop, but the exact cause is unknown. Factors likely include:

  • Inherited foot type
  • Foot injuries
  • Deformities present at birth (congenital)

Experts disagree on whether tight, high-heeled or too-narrow shoes cause bunions or whether footwear simply contributes to bunion development.

Bunions might be associated with certain types of arthritis, particularly inflammatory types, such as rheumatoid arthritis.

RISK FACTORS

These factors might increase your risk of bunions:

  • High heels. Wearing high heels forces your toes into the front of your shoes, often crowding your toes.
  • Ill-fitting shoes. People who wear shoes that are too tight, too narrow or too pointed are more susceptible to bunions.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis. Having this inflammatory condition can make you more susceptible to bunions.
  • Heredity. The tendency to develop bunions might be because of an inherited structural foot defect.

HOW ARE THEY DIAGNOSED?

During a clinical exam, your doctor will x-ray your foot to determine the severity of your condition along with any other conditions

Where do you fall on the bunion severity scale?

Bunion severity scale

Mild

Slight bump begins to form on the side of the foot and the skin may appear slightly red in color. Bunion may be unnoticed by the patient at this stage.

Moderate

Bump on the side of the foot becomes more prominent, skin is red in color. Patients may experience pain or difficulty when wearing shoes or walking.

Severe

Bony bump is prominent, big toe deviates toward other toes, potentially creating other deformities spread throughout the foot.

Mild

Slight bump begins to form on the side of the foot and the skin may appear slightly red in color. Bunion may be unnoticed by the patient at this stage.

Moderate

Bump on the side of the foot becomes more prominent, skin is red in color. Patients may experience pain or difficulty when wearing shoes or walking.

Severe

Bony bump is prominent, big toe deviates toward other toes, potentially creating other deformities spread throughout the foot.

WHAT IF I DO NOTHING?

During the early stages, your pain can be managed but it will typically worsen and you may develop some additional symptoms, including:

  • Arthritis
  • Calluses
  • Toes cross over
  • Hammertoes
  • Bone spurs
  • Ball of foot pain

OK, what are my treatment options?

1. Non-surgical or conservative treatments

These treatments are designed to keep you more comfortable, but will not address the root cause. Conservative treatments include:
> Toe spacers
> Pads/splints
> Inserts/Orthotics

2. Traditional open surgery

During a traditional open bunion surgery, the surgeon opens up your skin using large 2 to 6 inch incisions in order to access the bones, tendons and ligaments in your foot.  There is a risk of bleeding and visible scarring to occur.

2. Mifoot Bunion Correction

Mifoot Bunion Correction procedure uses very small or tiny  1/8 to 1/4 inch incisions (percutaneous incisions).  Your surgeon gains the ability to perform a bunion correction with minimal disruption or trauma to the overlying skin and soft tissue.  PECA® implants are used to permanently secure the root cause of your bunion.

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