5 Things You Need to Know About Bunions (Hallux Valgus)

Commonly known as “bunions”, hallux valgus is a deviation of the big toe which often comes accompanied by a – sometimes painful – bony deformity of the joint.

1. The cause is often genetic

People whose parents have a hallux valgus in the foot are more at risk of developing it as well. The presence of high ligament flexibility in the family can increase a person’s risk of developing this condition. In a case of nature vs nurture, bad “shoe habits” can be passed on through generations, which can also increase the likelihood of bunions.

Women over 40

2. Women over 40 are more likely to develop it

Women are more prone than men to develop hallux valgus mainly due to the fact that they wear narrow, high-heeled shoes, which put the big toe in an awkward position where the load on it is greater. Age and menopause are factors that also increase the chances of developing a bunion.

3. Pain, redness and inflammation are among the most common symptoms

People with hallux valgus force their big toe to maintain an unnatural position. This is what causes pain, redness and inflammation. On a daily basis, patients may have difficulty wearing closed shoes for a long period of time because the top of the shoe adds pressure on the joint. Like a domino effect, the big toe then puts pressure on the other toes, causing additional problems. In the long term, some people develop osteoarthritis or arthritis in the joint. 

relieve the discomfort associated with hallux valgus

4. Custom orthotics can help relieve hallux valgus discomfort

Although wearing a foot orthotics or separator cannot completely reduce hallux valgus, it can greatly help relieve pain. With custom orthotics, a doctor prescribe a device that will offload the joint while repositioning it.

5. There are exercises one can do on a daily basis

If the hallux valgus is still small, several specialists recommend doing exercises that work on the posture of the toe to keep it in place. These are typically simple exercises, but are are only effective if they are practiced repeatedly. Ideally, these exercises will be in combination with another solution, such as a foot custom foot orthotic.

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