Hallux Valgus Deformity - Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Hallux valgus deformity is a very common foot problem that afflicts many people in different parts of the world. “Hallus Valgus” is the medical term for a bunion. It refers to a bony distention as a result of the displacement of tissues and bone around the great toe joint. The misalignment shows up as a swelling at the underside of the great toe (metatarsophalangeal joint). Over time, the great toe curves towards the toe adjacent to it. Apart from the curving of the great toe towards the toe adjacent to it, the tissues surrounding the joint might also become inflamed and swollen and this may result in what is referred to as bunion pain. This article will examine the causes, symptoms as well as ways to treat this common foot problem.

Symptoms of Hallus Valgus

The symptoms of Hallux valgus manifest in different methods. The symptom that is most obvious is the curving of the great toe toward the toe adjacent to it. As soon as you observe that your great toe is not straight and it appears to be leaning toward the toe adjacent to it, you should not ignore it or think that the problem will be resolved on its own.

One other major symptom is pain within the metatarsophalangeal joint by the underside of the great toe, particularly when wearing shoes. Nearly all types of shoes will cause some measure of pressure on your forefoot. If you have bunions, shoes will worsen the pain felt at the foot.

Once you experience these two symptoms, you can be certain that you have sustained a bunion. Ensure that you give it serious and immediate attention because failure to do so might result in the condition becoming worse. Swelling and redness are other symptoms of hallux valgus deformity, even though swelling and redness could be as a result of some other reasons, for example damage to the tendons or skin, rheumatoid arthritis or gout.

If you experience the symptoms mentioned above, you should see a podiatry doctor who will check your feet so as to produce an authoritative diagnosis regarding the pain you feel at foot.

Heredity

The development of hallux valgus deformity is strongly influenced by hereditary factors. Just as some physical traits are inherited, for example the shape of one’s nose, one can inherit a particular type of foot. For this reason, you might even hear of adolescents and younger kids having bunions.

One other factor that is related to genetics is flat feet. Nearly all babies have flat feet when they are born, however the majority of babies develop arches naturally as they grow older. If your arches failed to develop properly, then your chances of developing hallus valgus is high.

Treatment

If you observe any swelling of tissues or bones near the underside of your great toe, you should speak with your health care professional as soon as possible. If left untreated, bunions can cause a great deal of discomfort. If you fail to treat this foot condition, you may find it very difficult getting suitable footwear for yourself. You might experience a lot of pain when you walk. At times, the curving of the great toe towards the toe adjacent to it can cause the second toe to be deformed as well. To get rid of the pain, it is very important that you treat the condition promptly.

Medication

If rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis is the cause of this foot deformity, you have to take drugs so as to stop these conditions from getting out of control. Applying medicated gels or creams on the affected parts might be helpful. If you are experiencing severe symptoms, your doctor might place you on cortisone injections or anti-inflammatory drugs. These medications will definitely help ease the pain. Additionally, you must take a lot of rest and avoid engaging activities that might cause the pain to become worse.

Orthotic Devices and Footwear

To start with, you should stop wearing high-heeled shoes or pointy shoes. Get rid of those shoes which do not appear to be sufficiently comfortable. You should also stop wearing shoes that do not have wide toe box. To decrease the friction or pressure near the affected toe, wear shoes manufactured from softer materials. You can also make use of orthotic devices. The use of bunion splints, shield or pads will help to decrease the amount of pain you feel at the foot. Because this foot problem can cause the toe adjacent to it to be deformed, silicone toe separators can be used to get rid of the chances of the nearby toe getting deformed.

Surgery

If moderate medical care does not appear to give you relief, then surgery may be the best way to deal with the problem. Resection arthroplasty, osteotomy, exostectomy, and arthrodesis are some of the surgical procedures used for rectifying this foot deformity. After the surgery you might experience some pain however pain killers will help you deal with the pain. It is vital that you take a lot of rest. While sitting down or sleeping, ensure that the affected foot is elevated and weight should not be placed on it. The recovery time for bunion surgery ranges between three to five weeks .If you follow the advice that your doctor gave you; you will recover a lot faster. As soon as the joint has the affected joint has healed significantly, you should go for sessions of physical therapy and carry out some exercises to strengthen the joint.
Before The Surgery

Prior to the surgical procedure, (at least two weeks before), it is advised that you do not take antidepressants and antibiotics. Before the surgery, smoking and alcohol are strictly forbidden. On the surgery day, the doctor will certainly ask you not to drink or eat anything for six to twelve hours before the operation.
If hallux valgus deformity is causing you a lot of pain and you are finding it very difficult to walk and carry out your daily activities, you should see a doctor without delay. if your foot structure makes you prone to developing hallux valgus, take all possible preventative measures to stop this problem from developing in the future.

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