Hallux valgus, or more commonly known as a bunion, is a deformity of a foot that causes a change in the axis of the big toe, which starts to turn inwardly from the axis of the body and tilts towards the second toe. A bulge, that is characteristic of hallux valgus, starts to form around the first joint on the inner side of the toe, with gradually increasing pain.
Shoes, genes, and corpulence are to blame.
“We are talking about a genetic disease, where the patient is born with a congenital deformity or has an inherited predisposition for the deformity. However, the patient's lifestyle and the weight that is put on the feet also plays big a role, especially if the client is overweight, doesn’t take proper care of their feet or wears inappropriate footwear- the deformity may develop earlier,” explains Dr. Hromádka.
Childbirth can also be a factor
That’s why, in most cases, it is women who wear elegant shoes that tend to develop hallux valgus. “The link between the deformity and the choice of footwear is proven. There are studies that show a causality- where nations that started wearing modern footwear, suddenly had a spike in the prevalence of bunions.” further comments Dr. Hromádka. Women that come to him with this specific problem are most commonly in their 30s. In addition to being overweight, previous pregnancies and childbirths are a risk factor in developing bunions, as during these states the ligaments in the whole body relax, and the foot changes shape because the ligaments are no longer strong enough to hold the shape of the foot.
Let’s take a look into the doctor’s office
The deformity of the big toe is very gradual. The client usually notices the misalignment of the toe first, and for many years continues about their normal lives, and only seeks medical attention once the bunion starts to hurt. However, at this point, the hallux valgus has already made degenerative changes in the area of the big toe, and surgery is usually imperative.
The severity of the defect is determined by your general practitioner or the orthopaedist directly, who will require an X-ray of the foot, based on which they will recommend some form of treatment, and in case of pain, surgery. “I’m very pleased by the significant development in the treatment of the hallux valgus in the last twenty years. At present, the surgeon will transect the bone and change the angle of the joint in the foot, by which the big toe will be positioned into place, and secured using osteosynthetic material- usually screws. This reverses the original cause of the hallux valgus and the deformity will not return. In addition, thanks to the use of the screws, the client can start physiotherapy early on in their recovery, and quickly return back to their normal life.” says Dr. Hromádka, and further adds that the average recovery time is about six weeks.
There has been a gradual shift in the strategies for taking care of your feet, mainly away from using orthopedic insoles, even in children. “The best prevention is taking good care of your feet- stretching the big toe joint, massages and foot baths, stretching the Achilles heel and the calf muscles, as well as having the right footwear, or walking barefoot” the doctor concludes.
Bunions, otherwise known as Hallux valgus, brings increasingly more patients to Canadian Medical each year. The main advantage of our clinic is the liaison between the outpatient examination with the option of having the surgery within one-day surgery at our Waltrovka branch. We have a team of experienced specialists, a short waiting list and pleasant, comfortable and first-rate facilities.