What Is a Bunion?
Bunions are often described as a bump on the side of the big toe or on top of the big toe (hallux rigidus). However, a bunion is a bigger problem then it appears to be. A bunion is an enlargement of bone or tissue around the joint at the base of the big toe (metatarsophalangeal joint). The big toe may turn in toward the second toe (angulation), and the tissues surrounding the joint may be swollen and tender.
Hallux rigidus limits the motion of the toe to various degrees. This disorder can be very troubling and even disabling, since we use the all-important big toe whenever we walk, bend down or even just standing. If you have pain and / or stiffness in your big toe, there is a very good chance you have this condition.
Bunions are caused by a biomechanical abnormality, where certain tendons, ligaments and supportive structures of the first metatarsal are no longer functioning correctly. This biomechanical abnormality may be caused by a variety of conditions intrinsic to the structure of the foot--such as flat feet, excessive ligamentous flexibility, abnormal bone structure, and certain neurological conditions. These factors are often considered genetic. Although some experts are convinced that poor fitting footwear is the main cause of bunion formation other sources concede only that footwear exacerbates the problem caused by the original genetic deformity.
Bunions are progressive disorders, they begin with the leaning of the big toe, gradually changing the angle of the bones over the years and slowly producing the characteristic bump. In its earlier stage, motion of the big toe is only somewhat limited-at that point, the condition is called “hallux limitus.” But as the problem and pain increases, the toe’s range of motion gradually decreases until it potentially reaches the end stage where the toe seems to be frozen.
Surgery is Indicated When...
When the bunion begins to interfere with everyday activities such as walking and exercising it should be taken care of.
There are a variety of new technologies that have helped the success rate of bunion surgery. Procedures are designed and chosen to correct a variety of pathologies that may be associated with the bunion such as the bump that the bunion creates. The main purpose of getting the surgery done is to eliminate pain. Dr. Piccarelli also uses cosmetics techniques for closure to ensure the best possible scar.In some cases, surgery is the only way to eliminate or reduce pain of hallux ridigus. There are several types of surgery that can be undertaken to treat hallux rigidus.
Dr. Piccarelli can discuss all of the options with you when you visit the office.