A bunion is a protuberance on the side of the foot, in the area of the articulation of the big toe. The big toe, in some cases, could be diverted towards the smaller toes affecting their position.
What are the causes of bunions?
There generally exists a genetic predisposition, inheriting the type of foot that is predisposed to suffering from bunions. Flat or excessively flexible feet have a predisposition to developing bunions or other problems. Other causes could be traumatisms, rheumatoid arthritis and neurovascular diseases. In addition, in feet that have a certain predisposition, the shoe helps in the development of the bunion, reason why women, due to the type of footwear they use, suffer this illness more.
What are its symptoms?
Many times the pain does not correspond with the deformity; protruding bunions can be only slightly painful and small deformities can cause intense pains. Normally the pain comes from the rubbing of the footwear which causes reddening and inflammation and could develop into bursitis. With time the pain becomes more intense, making walking or even wearing footwear difficult. When the bunion has been developing for years the joint curvature forms a painful osteoarthritis which incapacitates. Bunions also affect the small toes, above all the toe adjacent to the big toe, which because of its curvature, begins to twist, this results in a hammertoe which frequently becomes complicated with a painful corn.
What treatments are suitable?
When the pain is not very intense, the best option is the conservative treatment. The change to wider and more comfortable footwear, with a low heel, is effective. Medication and anti-inflammatory cream help to eliminate the pain. When the conservative treatment is not effective and wearing footwear begins to become a problem, the surgical treatment is the best option. The longer the bunion is left without being operated on, the greater the arthritis and the greater the complication in surgery.
When and how to operate on the bunions? (hallux valgus)
At Clínica Benegas, with over seventeen years in the field and basing ourselves on our results, our advice is to operate on the bunions as soon as possible, whether because of pain or as soon as it begins to affect the adjacent toe. The lesser the deformity, the surgical technique is less aggressive and the results are also better.
At Clínica Benegas we use techniques that have been proven in the scientific community, and in the case of bunions, we consider it important to correct the deformity, not to cut or file down the bone, but to place the joint in its place to assure ourselves of good results in the future. The majority of cases can be operated on with local anaesthesia and in an outpatient visit.
After the surgery the patients walk out with post-surgery footwear, which they will wear for 10-15 days, after which they will be able to use soft and sports footwear, until finally normal footwear will be able to be worn when the scarring heals.