Easy foot exercises to Fix Bunions – How to treat Hallux Valgus

The hallux valgus corresponds to a deviation of the base of the big toe outwards. The toe of the big toe approaches the 2nd toe, which causes deformation of the forefoot. Hallux valgus, a bone deformity, manifests as a bump in the first metatarsus, inside the foot. This deformation can be associated with an inflammation called bursitis. This bump, which is therefore formed by the apex of the angle between the first metatarsal that goes inward and the big toe that goes outward, can prevent certain shoes from being worn.

Hallux valgus can be very painful, both in the joint and in the skin (friction against the shoe when walking).

There is a juvenile hallux valgus, which is often a severe form of the disease. In general, the disease begins around 40 years of age.

About 3 to 5% of the population develop hallux valgus, and half of them note that the deformity appeared during adolescence.

Causes of hallux valgus

30% of the elderly population and 2% of children have hallux valgus. In 90 to 95% of cases, hallux valgus affects women. In 90% of cases, hallux valgus begins between 40 and 50 years of age.

You are more exposed to hallux valgus:

  •     if you are a woman;
  •     if your parents have hallux valgus. In 25% of cases, hallux valgus is hereditary;
  •     if you inherited from your parents a wide forefoot and a long first toe (characteristic of “Egyptian” feet);
  •     if you wear shoes with high heels, with narrow toes (if this factor does not play the essential role which has long been attributed to it, it is not without effect);
  •     if you are menopausal: loosening of the fibrous structures promotes enlargement of the forefoot;
  •     if you have a neuromuscular or rheumatic disease (rheumatoid arthritis for example) or a collagen abnormality.

Footwear factor

The role of shoes in the progression of hallux valgus remains decisive. Mainly if these are narrow, pointed, and high-heeled shoes. The foot has no choice : to deform to take place in the shoe. A shoe that is too narrow in the forefoot promotes the increase in the angle between the metatarsal and the first phalanx, therefore the hallux valgus.

Even if other populations can present this deformation by wearing other shoes, it is nonetheless a substantial factor.

This is why recurrence after treatment is frequent. Changing habits is difficult. To avoid recurrence, the footwear must be adapted. Wearing city shoes with narrow toe and high heels must remain exceptional. Without changing shoeing habits, recurrence is almost inevitable.

Influence of gender, weight and age

The 2010 study by Nguyen et al. out of 600 people in the United States (1), specifies that the causes of hallux valgus differ between men and women. Indeed, the study concludes that footwear and a low Body Mass Index (BMI) in women would promote the development of hallux valgus. Conversely, in humans, a high BMI and a flat foot would be favorable for a deformation of the hallux.

These results remain to be put into perspective since hallux valgus is mainly developed in women. This probability increases with age (2).

Thus, the causes favoring the appearance of a hallux valgus are multiple. If anatomical and genetic factors cannot be avoided, you remain in control of your footwear.

The shape of the foot

Another genetic inheritance could favor the appearance of a hallux valgus. It’s the shape of your feet. There are indeed three main forms of foot:

  •     The “Greek feet” whose second toe is longer than the first.
  •     The “Egyptian feet” which have a decreasing size of the toes: the hallux (the big toe) is thus the longest. This form of foot is distinguished in particular by an excessive length of the first radius.
  •     Finally, the “square feet” characterized by an identical length on the first two toes including the hallux.

People with “Egyptian feet” seem to develop hallux valgus more often than those with “Greek feet” or “squares”. The first toe being longer, it is more exposed to stresses which increases its lever arm (3).

What are the solutions to relieve the pain associated with a hallux valgus?

Above all, it is essential to wear suitable shoes to avoid excessive pressure and excessive friction : therefore no pointed and thin shoes.

In case of occasional pain in putting on, the application of a hallux valgus dressing with Epithelium Activ is an appreciable solution. If these pains are recurrent or permanent, simple hallux valgus protection is preferable. Hallux valgus is often associated with plantar pain (calluses under the 2nd and 3rd metatarsals), the double protection pad is then the appropriate device.

To prevent the big toe and the 2nd toe from overlapping, Bunion Corrector are recommended. Their thickness must be adaptable so that it does not push the neighboring toes outwards.

All of these products provide undeniable relief, but they are not intended to correct hallux valgus.

Finally, if these pains are really unbearable and the deformations too great, a surgical intervention must be considered.

Do you have a beginner hallux valgus and would like to limit its aggravation? OPEN NEXT TO KEEP READING

(1)Nguyen U-SDT, Hillstrom HJ, Li W, Dufour AB, Kiel DP, Procter-Gray E, et al. Factors associated with hallux valgus in a population-based study of older women and men: the MOBILIZE Boston Study. Osteoarthritis and Cartilage. janv 2010; 18(1):416.

(2)Nix S, Smith M, Vicenzino B. Prevalence of hallux valgus in the general population: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Foot Ankle Res. déc 2010; 3(1):21.

(3)Lelièvre J., Pathologie du pied. Paris : Masson, 1961

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