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Bunions

What is a Bunion

A bunion is an abnormal bony bump that forms at the joint at the base of the big toe, causing it to move out of line towards the other toes. It may start with a slight swelling or redness around the joint but can develop to such an extent that the big toe goes under or over the second causing the second toe to become hammered.


What causes Bunions

Bunions form when the normal balances of forces to the foot are disrupted. They develop slowly over the years, often beginning unnoticed in childhood. Abnormalities in walking and biomechanical problems such as excessive rolling in of the foot, short second metatarsals and differences in leg lengths are the main causes. Other common contributing factors include poorly fitted shoes, the wearing of high heels, flat feet and arthritis. Genetics can also play a part, with bunions being seen in several generations of one family.


Simple tips for prevention

• Have your shoes properly fitted.
• Use a bunion pad to reduce the pressure over the joint when you need to wear a dressier shoe.
• Should the area become inflamed and sore, apply ice several times a day.
• Seek professional advice from a podiatrist or orthopaedic surgeon.


Treatment

Early treatment by a podiatrist with custom made orthotics and good footwear will prevent the progression of a bunion. A podiatrist will assess the gait and biomechanics of the foot and prescribe an orthotic accordingly.

If the pain interferes with daily activity or you are unable to wear regular shoes, surgery may be necessary and you should consult with an orthopedic surgeon.

To find a qualified podiatrist in Singapore, please see the Podiatry Association (Singapore) website.