What are Bunions?
A bunion, also known as hallux valgus, is bony prominence at the base of the big toe, which often results in pain, redness and rubbing in footwear. The first metatarsal bone abnormally angles outward towards the other foot from its joint in the midfoot.
Symptoms of Bunions
The main indication of a bunion is the pointing of the big toe towards the other toes of the foot. Other signs and symptoms include:
- Pain and swelling over the big toe that increases while wearing shoes.
- Swelling with red, sore and calloused skin at the base of the big toe.
- Inward turning of the big toe pushes the second toe out of place.
- Bony bump at the base of the big toe.
- Sore skin over the bony bump .
- Difficulty in walking and wearing shoes.
A bunion can change the shape of your foot and make it difficult for you to find shoes that fit correctly. Symptoms may worsen if left untreated.
Conservative treatment measures can help relieve the discomfort of a bunion, however, these measures will not prevent the bunion from becoming worse. Surgery is the only means of correcting a bunion. Surgery is also recommended when conservative measures fail to treat the symptoms of bunion.
Common Procedures for Bunion Correction
Scarf osteotomy is usually recommended for moderate to severe bunion deformities. Your surgeon will make an incision along your big toe and open the joint capsule to expose the bump. The bump on your big toe is then removed using a bone saw. Your first metatarsal bone is then cut in a Z shape and realigned to correct the deformity. Your surgeon will fix the cut bone with pins or screws. The joint capsule and surgical wounds are then re-approximated using dissolvable sutures keeping your toe in a straight position. This is a very powerful corrective procedure with excellent long-term results.
Akin osteotomy corrects the sideways deviation of the big toe. In this procedure, your surgeon makes a small cut in the proximal phalanx (base of the big toe) and removes a wedge of bone to straighten the big toe. The bony fragments are then stabilized using screws or staples. This procedure is often used in conjunction with the other procedures below.