Orthopaedic Surgeon | Foot, Ankle, & Knee Specialist

  Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm
      (08) 7099 0188

Bunion Deformity

Bunion – Relevant Anatomy

The Big (‘Great’) toe is comprised of 3 main bones. The distal phalanx, the proximal phalanx, and the 1st metatarsal. The ‘joint’ between the metatarsal and the proximal phalanx is called the 1st MTP joint.

The 1st MTP joint in enclosed in a thick layer of tissue called the joint capsule. Additional small foot muscles attach to adjacent bones and contribute to the condition.

Dr. Mike Smith orthopaedic surgeon Bunion bunions bunion treatment Adelaide

Bunion – What is it?

bunion treatment bunion surgery adelide orthopaedic surgeon mike smith best bunion photoA bunion, also know as a ‘Hallux valgus deformity’, is a painful deformity that occurs at the base of the big toe (the 1st MTP joint). A complex mechanism results in a painful prominence forming on the inside of the great toe, and the toe itself begins to migrate towards the 2nd toe.

Normally the big toe should point forwards. When a bunion develops, the big toe drifts towards the lesser toes. When present, bunions commonly occur in both feet.

Bunion – Why does it form?

Bunions are more commonly found in women, and there is often a strong history of bunions running in the family.

There is no single cause as to why bunions develop in some people and not others. A combination of genetic predisposition, foot shape, and narrow footwear may contribute to symptomatic bunions.

mike smith orthopaedic foot surgeon adelaide bunion surgery

Over time, gradual angulation of the bones occurs, with a stretching of the medial (inner) soft tissues, and contraction of the lateral (outer) soft tissues, resulting in a permanently angulated toe.

mike smith orthopaedic knee surgeon adelaide tibial osteotomy knee arthritis treatment bunion formationBunions – What issues can the cause?

While some bunions cause minimal symptoms, other people are greatly impaired by this condition.

Difficulty with footwear

Most patients with symptomatic bunions will experience painful pressure areas over the bony prominence. Difficulty wearing narrow shoes is common. In Severe cases, the bunion can result in lesser toe deformities that also cause callus formation with footwear.

Development of arthritis

Arthritis can develop in patients with underlying bunions. Increased pain and stiffness typically results.

Cosmetic Deformity

As bunions progress with time, cosmesis can become an issue for patients.

Compression of sensory nerves

The deformity can result in loss of function to one of the sensory skin nerves that runs through this region. Patients may experience loss of sensation over the big toe.

dr mike smith foot surgeon adelaide bunion treatment xrayBunion – Imaging

Plain weight bearing xrays are arranged. These allow assessment of the severity of angulation, the presence of any underlying arthritis, and the position of the joints of the lesser toes.

Treatment of bunions

Nonoperative treatment of symptomatic bunions is aimed at reducing the pressure going through the foot, and to reduce pressure sores and ulcer formation. This is usually attempted with a change in footwear. ‘Accommodative’ shoes, bunion pads, and orthotics may help relieve the pain.

“Key-Hole Bunion Surgery”

A minimally invasive ‘Key-hole’ bunion surgery technique is used to remove the bunion and straighten the toe. This technique minimises scarring and requires no stitches.

Dr. Mike Smith and his staff can be contacted by one of the methods outlined below. If requested, all new patients will be reviewed within one week of booking an appointment. We look forward to assisting you!

  • Patient Contact Form

​Urgent Referrals & Emergencies

Email Referral

Feel free to email your referral to our friendly staff who will promptly book an appointment.

Email
Online Referral

Refer a patient using our secure online patient referral portal here.

Online Referral
Phone Referral

Contact our friendly staff directly on
08 7099 0188

Phone
Fax Referral

Please fax your referral to 08 7099 0171. Dr. Smith's rooms will contact your patient within 24 hours, with an appointment time.

Fax