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Introduction

Bunions, medically known as hallux valgus, are one of the most common foot deformities, significantly affecting the quality of life of those who suffer from them. This condition is characterized by the deviation of the first metatarsal and the formation of a bony prominence on the inner edge of the foot, which leads to a series of uncomfortable and painful symptoms.

Etiology of bunions

The formation of bunions can be attributed to multiple factors, among which the following stand out:

  • Genetic predisposition: Inherited bone structure plays a crucial role, with studies indicating that if a parent has bunions, there is a high probability that their offspring will also develop them.
  • Inappropriate Footwear: Narrow, narrow-toed shoes and high heels contribute to the exacerbation of this condition.
  • Biomechanical factors: Imbalances in weight distribution and alterations in gait mechanics can promote the appearance of bunions.
  • Pre-existing Medical Conditions: Diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis can accelerate the development of bunions due to joint inflammation.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Symptoms associated with bunions include pain, redness, swelling and difficulty finding comfortable shoes. These symptoms are often aggravated by physical activity and the use of inappropriate shoes. Diagnosis is made by clinical evaluation and confirmed by radiographic studies showing deviation of the first metatarsal and formation of the bony prominence.

Non-Surgical Treatments

Footwear Modification

Choosing the right footwear is essential to relieve pressure on the bunion and reduce symptoms. Shoes with a wide toe box, adequate arch support and a low heel are recommended.

Orthoses and Protectors

The use of orthopedic devices such as toe separators, bunion pads and night splints can help align the big toe and decrease pressure on the bunion.

Physiotherapy

Physical therapy, including stretching and strengthening exercises, can improve the flexibility and strength of the feet, contributing to stabilization of the affected joint.

Advanced Treatments

Surgical Interventions

Bunion surgery is considered when conservative treatments fail to relieve pain or when the deformity is severe. There are various surgical techniques, which are selected according to the severity of the deformity and the individual conditions of the patient.

Complementary Therapies

Acupuncture and reflexology, among other alternative therapies, have been shown to be effective in the management of pain and inflammation associated with bunions, complementing conventional medical treatments.

Prevention

Prevention of bunions includes careful selection of footwear, specific exercises to strengthen the feet and early consultation with a specialist at the first signs of deformity.

Conclusion

Bunions represent a complex condition that requires a comprehensive approach to management. The combination of conservative treatments, along with advanced interventions when necessary, can offer significant relief and improve the quality of life of those affected. It is essential to address this condition proactively to prevent its progression and associated complications.

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