What is A Bunion?
A bunion is commonly referred to as a “bump” on the joint at the base of the big toe—the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint—that forms when the bone or tissue at the big toe joint moves out of place. The toe is forced to bend toward the others, causing an often painful lump of bone on the foot. The causes of bunion are heredity, foot injuries, neuromuscular disorders, or congenital deformities. People who suffer from flat feet, arthritis, or inflammatory joint decease are also prone to bunions. Occupations that place undue stress on the feet are also a factor, as is wearing shoes that are too tight or cause the toes to be squeezed together.
The symptoms of a bunion include the following:
- Development of a swelling, callus or firm bump on the outside edge of the foot, at the base of the big toe
- Redness, swelling, or pain at or near the MTP joint
- Development of hammertoes or calluses under the ball of the foot
- Corns or other irritations caused by the overlap of the first and second toes
- Restricted or painful motion of the big toe
If pain persists, podiatric medical attention should be sought. Bunions tend to get larger and more painful if left untreated, making non-surgical treatment less of an option.
Treatment options vary with the type and severity of each bunion, but may include padding and taping of the area, anti-inflammatory medication and cortisone injections, and foot physical therapy. Custom Orthotics, or specialty-made shoe inserts may also be useful. Finally, surgical options are available, such as a simple bunionectomy.
What is a Hammer Toe?
A hammer toe is a contracture, or bending, of the toe at the first joint of the digit, called the proximal interphalangeal joint. This bending causes the toe to appear like an upside-down V when looked at from the side. Any toe can be involved, but the condition usually affects the second through fifth toes, known as the lesser digits.
The symptoms of a hammer toe include the following:
- Pain at the top of the bent toe upon pressure from footwear
- Formation of corns on the top of the joint
- Redness and swelling at the joint contracture
- Restricted or painful motion of the toe joint
- Pain in the ball of the foot at the base of the affected toe
If pain persists, see a podiatrist. If left untreated, hammer toes tend to become rigid, making non-surgical treatment less of an option.
The treatment options vary with the type and severity of each hammer toe, and may include padding and taping of the area, anti-inflammatory medications and cortisone injections, custom orthotics, and surgical correction. Minimally invasive surgery is and option.
What is Haglund’s Deformity?
Haglund’s Deformity is a bony enlargement of the back of the heel bone. Sometimes it’s called “pump bump” because the deformity often occurs in women who wears pumps.
The shape of your foot can contribute to the development of Haglund’s Deformity. If you have high arches, a tight Achilles tendon, or a tendency to walk on the outside of your feet, you’re more likely to develop Haglund’s Deformity than other people. Wearing shoes with a firm, rigid back may also contribute to the development of Haglund’s Deformity.
The primary symptoms of Haglund’s Deformity are an enlarged bony prominence on the back of the heel and heel pain. You might also develop blisters on your heels as a result of your shoes rubbing against the bump.
If the pain persists or the bump continues to enlarge, it’s time to see a podiatrist Treatment will depend on the severity of the condition. Options include:
- Shoe modification. Your podiatrist can recommend over-the-counter heel pads, heel lifts, or arch supports, or create custom orthotic supports to change the position of your feet in your shoes to relieve pressure on the back of your foot.
- Medication. Topical anti-inflammatory medication, applied directly to the heel, may provide pain relief. Oral anti-inflammatory medication (such as ibuprofen) can help as well.
- Immobilization. If the area is extremely inflamed, a custom-made soft cast or walking boot may be used to immobilize the area and allow it to heal.
- Surgery. If none of the non-surgical methods provide adequate relief, your podiatrist may recommend surgery to correct the deformity. Podiatrists are specially-trained foot and ankle surgeons who can surgically re-shape the heel bone.
- Avoid shoes with rigid backs. If you have a high arch or tight Achilles tendon, wearing appropriate shoe inserts and/or adequately stretching the Achilles tendon can help prevent the development of Haglund’s Deformity.