A bunion (or Hallux Abducto Valgus) is a deformity of the big toe joint where the big toe deviates towards the smaller toes. In most cases, bunions are a progressive deformity that get worse over time. As the bunion alignment deteriorates a bony prominence is seen on the big toe joint and the smaller toes may retract and claw, causing hammer toes. The eminence can become red, swollen and painful and osteoarthritic changes at the joint can occur.
The cause of bunions is often multi-factorial and predisposing factors of their development and progression include family genetics, ill-fitting footwear, physical activities, anatomical variations and foot alignment.
Hammer or claw toes are where the toe bends or retracts in the middle joints resulting in a deviated shape and alignment leading to a clawed or hammer appearance.
Causes of hammer toes include bunions, genetics, poor foot biomechanics a high arched foot type and ill-fitting footwear. Some arthritic conditions such as inflammatory and rheumatoid arthritis can also cause these bone changes over time.
Complete alignment correction of bunions and hammer toes can only be achieved through surgical intervention with an orthopaedic or podiatric surgeon. Surgery can reposition the toe, remove deformed or injured bone, and realign your tendons and joints.
Conservative care can help manage the symptoms often associated with bunions and hammer toes. This may include footwear advice, orthotic therapy to correct biomechanical anomalies, removal of corns and callus and the application of deflective padding or over-the-counter cushions or pads to relieve discomfort.
If you feel you need assistance regarding your bunion or hammer toes feel free to book an assessment consultation with one of our podiatrists to advise you on the most appropriate course of action.
Book an appointment