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Bunions (Hallux Valgus)

Don't suffer in silence

Hallux Valgus Copyright Total Foot Health

Bunion surgery. Illustration © Total Foot Health 2017

We use the term bunions to describe a swelling on the side of the big toe joint. This is a little lazy as the swelling is only a small part of the underlying problem – the true term that we should use is hallux valgus as this implies a structural deformity based at the first toe joint. In hallux valgus the first toe leans into the smaller ones, whilst the first metatarsal leans away from the other metatarsals. This pulls two small bones out of position under the joint causing poor function not only of the joint, but the whole forefoot.

Bunion correction surgery

Right foot two months after bunion (Hallux Valgus) correction

It can be seen from the above photograph of a patient about to undergo surgery to their left foot for hallux valgus correction, that there is a heavy callous over the second metatarsal head with embedded corns, along with the smaller toes being crushed by the big toe. This is all due to the poor function of the foot caused by the complex deformity seen in hallux valgus. This is particularly evident during the toe off phase of gait where a stable big toe is essential to allow normal foot mechanics.

The right foot has been operated on only two months previously and has already returned to normal function and weight distribution as the corns have vanished and the smaller toes are no longer squashed.

It is always nice to see good work recognised by others and this ladies’ chiropodist told her:

“This is the best foot surgery I have ever seen!”

It is important when considering surgical correction to fully understand the steps that are needed to achieve proper alignment and function. Rarely is it advisable to merely take off the bump on the side of the foot as this will create more instability. Whenever possible every element of the underlying deformity must be addressed allowing the joint to give better function.

The aim of hallux valgus surgery, like the majority of foot surgery, is to achieve a pain free foot which not only looks good, but also works well. By following the advice and rehabilitation programme advised by Lyndon and his team you will have the best possible chance of gaining an amazing outcome.

Post-Operative Care Tips

To heal well your foot will need rest and elevation, particularly in the first 48 hours.

Keep the foot elevated for 48 hours. Only do the minimum activity. You can put weight into your heel when walking using your crutches.

Elevate your foot a little above your hip level, one or two pillows is usually the correct height.

Use ice on the front of the ankle for ten minutes every hour.

Use your painkillers as instructed.

Always use the post-operative shoe and crutches (provided by hospital) when mobile.

When your foot settles be as active as the foot will let you, keep the weight away from the front of the foot until you feel comfortable, this will usually take at least one week.