Bunion deformities are bony prominences which develop along the inside of the big toe joint. An inward drift or deviation of the long bone in the foot called the first metatarsal away from the 2nd metatarsal creates what is called a bunion deformity. The larger the separation or gap between the 1st and 2nd metatarsal’s, the larger the bunion deformity. As the bone becomes larger or more prominent, the great toe is pulled further toward the 2nd toe. This bony protrusion can result in shoe discomfort causing pain, redness and tenderness of the big toe joint. The longer a joint is allowed to function in an abnormal alignment, the more adaptive changes can occur. Occasionally, degenerative changes of the joint or bursitis can occur.
Treatment of bunions can include; shoe modifications, prescription orthotics, padding, oral anti-inflammatory agents, periodic cortisone injections or surgery to realign the malaligned bone.
Surgery often involves cutting through the deformed bone to correct the alignment and maintain the correction using pins, wires or screws. Surgery if chosen will often result in prolonged periods of immobilization and disability which a patient must thoroughly understand. There is often a period of stiffness associated with the big toe joint which will require time and effort to regain strength and motion.