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Hallux valgus

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Hallux valgus is a deformity of the big toe and it is commonly known as bunion. A bony bump like structure is visible at the base of the big toe which leans towards the next toe and pushes it further sideways. If the deformity is excessive and is interfering with your day to day lifestyle, then your doctor might consider treating the hallux valgus.


Symptoms of hallux valgus

The complications certainly arise in your foot due to the improperly shaped bone of your big toe. Some common problems that people face due to hallux valgus are: 

  • Foot pain, swelling and soreness in the big toe
  • Formation of calluses and corns due to friction of other toe with the big toe
  • Thickening of skin below the big toe

Due the abnormal anatomy of the foot people face extreme difficulty in finding a pair of proper fitting shoe. The pain and swelling further becomes bothersome while walking and running.


Causes of hallux valgus

The angular bending of the joint of the big toe is usually a genetic predisposition. The deformity becomes prominent due to increase in the space between the first and the second metatarsal known as intermetatarsal angle.

Hallux valgus is progressive in nature and is escalated by other bone problems like osteoarthritis and rheumatic arthritis. Furthermore, wearing ill fitting shoes for prolonged time might also be a contributing factor to the deformity.

When to see a doctor

You can very well notice this type of abnormality. If you have started experiencing pain then do not delay for a medical check-up because your doctor would give you certain instructions that would help you to manage the condition.


Diagnosis of hallux valgus

Your doctor will physically analyze the deformity and evaluate the complications. X ray would be done to figure out the extent of deformity.


Treatment of hallux valgus

Surgery is the only treatment option for hallux valgus. However, your doctor would consider operation only if your condition is too painful and you are absolutely not able to wear shoes.

The surgery could be combination of exostectomy (cutting the bunion) and osteotomy (repairing the first metatarsal). Other variations include promixal osteotomy, distal osteotomy and many more. This is a conservative treatment depending absolutely on the extent of your deformity. The abnormality would certainly get corrected after the surgery.

You might take at least a week to recover and resume normal activities after undergoing the surgery.

If you do not require a surgery then your doctor would prescribe you anti-inflammatory drugs to manage the pain and swelling. A technique known as tapping and splinting might be performed to reduce pain and stress from the bunion. Along with that you can take ice compress at home. These techniques despite not being permanent solutions offer momentary relief from the discomfort.


Shoes for hallux valgus

Choosing the right pair of shoes is an important thing to consider. Wear shoes with cushiony and padded soles having enough space to rest your feet. Do not hesitate in spending some good amount in an orthopedic pair considering the long term benefit. Avoid wearing heels, tapered and narrow shoes.  

Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: August 30, 2014