Bunions (HAV Deformity)
Bunions are one of the most common foot deformities of the western world. Seen as a thickening of bone, with associated inflammation and osteoarthritis at the base of the big toe, it can present quite aesthetically unpleasing and very uncomfortable.
Many believe that bunions are unavoidable - once they develop you've got them for life, but as with most medical conditions, early intervention is desired and further development can be slowed with the correct management.
In appearance, the big toe deviates towards the other lesser toes of the foot. Clawing of the toes also is commonly associated with bunion deformities.
As the bunion develops, movement becomes restricted due to osteoarthritis, the bone thickening becomes larger (both on top and on the side of the foot) and the deviation of the toe becomes more pronounced, eventually leading to problems with shoe fitting and a painful osteoarthritic joint.
Factors which lead to the development of bunions include poor foot and lower limb biomechanics, ill fitting footwear and a family history of bunions.
Although bunions are generally associated with adults (more prevalent in females) and the aged, children's feet often display the early beginnings of this condition and if acted upon early much can be avoided.
For sporting individuals, this anomaly becomes more of a problem early. Most sports require increased range of motion and flexibility in all joints of the body. Bunions limit the range of motion at the big toe joint. When combined with poor alignment and greater stress in sport due to sprinting, pivoting and long distance events, pain presents. Intervention is essential therefore to prevent further development of the bunion and continuation of sport.
Your Podiatrists can assess and detect early bunion formation via video monitoring and advanced clinical measurements. X-rays are often ordered to measure the extent of the deformity. Often innersoles (known as orthotics) are needed to correct the deformity, preventing any worsening of the condition. Muscle strengthening and stretching are also sometimes indicated.