Hallux valgus, commonly called bunions, is a bony protrusion at the joint of the big toe where it bends inward. This condition often appears on both feet and largely affects women over the age of 40. Here’s how to recognize hallux valgus and solutions for treating it.
Hallux valgus: How to recognize it
Hallux valgus can be identified with the naked eye. It creates a bony deformity at the front of the foot. Red skin can also be seen around the big toe joint. The area may feel hot to the touch and may even be tender.
This deformity can become uncomfortable, especially when wearing certain types of stiffer shoes. Basic physical activities like walking can aggravate it, as the big toe plays an important role in moving the body forward.
Juvenile hallux valgus
There are essentially two main forms of hallux valgus, with the so-called juvenile form accounting for about 30% of cases. The second form represents the remaining 70% of cases and is related to aging or certain physiological conditions.
Juvenile hallux valgus is caused by a defective orientation of the metatarsal head. It occurs fairly early, usually when someone is in their twenties, and is hereditary.
A number of factors other than heredity can contribute to the development of hallux valgus. These causes are physiological, health related or tied to certain habits, such as wearing shoes with high heels, pointed toes or narrower shapes.
For women, menopause is also considered an aggravating factor of this morphological condition. The presence of osteoarthritis may also accentuate the development of hallux valgus.
Other physical conditions can also be a factor, such as flat foot, pronation or excessive weight gain. People with a rheumatological disease, arthritis or polio are also more likely to develop hallux valgus.