A bunion, also named hallux valgus, is a complex deformity of the big toe. A bony prominence forms over the inner aspect of the great toe along with other complex deformities that may also contribute to other lesser toe deformities.
Many factors may lead to bunion formation, including genetics and shoe wear. High-heeled shoes and shoes with narrow toe boxes are most commonly implicated in the formation of bunions.
Patients may complain of a bony bump at the big toe, swelling and redness over that bump. Deformities of the lesser toes may occur in turn due to the deformity of the big toe.
Visual inspection of the foot will allow your surgeon to evaluate the bunion. X-rays allow the surgeon to measure the deformity and determine what surgical procedures will be most appropriate to correct the deformity.
Bunions that are not painful should be treated nonoperatively. Your surgeon may recommend special shoes with wide toe boxes, a device that corrects the position of the toe or a pad that protects the bunion from rubbing inside the shoe.
Your surgeon may recommend an operation if your activities are curtailed by a painful bunion. The bony bump is removed with a surgical saw and the soft tissues surrounding the big toe are released. The big toe is realigned through a variety of surgical corrective procedures in turn, correcting the deformity.
Crossover toe is a common condition usually seen in adults where the toe becomes crooked and crosses over another toe. The 2nd toe is, by far, the most common toe affected and thus the toe crosses over on top of the big toe.
Crossover toes are conditions that develop over time. They can be from shoe wear, typically high heels, where excess pressure is put upon the ball of the foot causing injury to the soft tissues underneath the toe. Crossover toes are commonly seen in patients with bunions.
Symptoms of crossover toes are pain or discomfort on the ball of the foot just below the toe, swelling, and difficulty with shoe wear.
The goal of treatment is to stop the toe from drifting towards the big toe as early as possible. Your doctor may recommend taping or splinting the toe, stretching exercises, and shoe changes.
If the crossover toe is severe or nonoperative treatment has failed, your doctor may recommend surgery for your crossover toe. The surgical treatment depends on the severity of the toe and may include realigning the bones and repairing the damaged soft tissues.
A hammertoe is a common foot condition that occurs mainly in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th toes. In the hammertoe deformity the toe is bent in the middle joint causing the toe to resemble a hammer.
Hammertoe is typically a result of tight-fitting shoes or an imbalance of the muscles of the toe. Tight-fitting shoes can push the toes into a flexed or bent position and as a result cause the deformity.
Typical symptoms of hammertoe is the inability to straighten the toe, swelling or redness on top of the toe, pain with shoe wear, and corns or callous on the top of the toe.
Avoid wearing tight, narrow, or high-heel shoes. Wearing shoes with a larger toe box and a half size larger can help with the symptoms. Stretching, toe straps, and braces can also help alleviate the symptoms.
The surgical treatment depends on the severity of the deformity. Common treatment options are tendon transfers and joint fusion.