Secondary Conditions Associated with Bunions

 

Bunions generally cause a host of primary issues in the lower limbs, but they can also cause several secondary conditions to develop as well due to the altered structure and condition of the foot. Whenever an issue develops in one area of the foot it is sure to affect the entire area to varying degrees.

Exterior secondary conditions generally include corns and calluses, which may occur as a result of unstable pressure points caused by hallus abducto valgus, which is essentially caused by a shifting of the bones at the front of the foot, primarily in the joints of the first metatarsal.  The most common complaint due to secondary conditions is discomfort caused by the development of corns. This type of secondary pathology can often be treated using over the counter products, but care should be taken to address the underlying issue as well; namely, the fact that a bunion has developed and will likely grow progressively worse.

Bunions often occur because there are structural changes in the foot due to the wearing of ill-fitting or constrictive shoes or inherited foot abnormalities, and secondary conditions will often occur as the foot tries to protect itself and/or compensate for these changes.

Unfortunately, secondary conditions often take the form of more difficult to treat afflictions, and the following issues are both common and more complicated to treat:

Hammertoe

Hammertoe is a painful condition in which the end of a toe is forced downward because the middle joint has contracted in a bent position. While it can occur in any toe the second toe is most vulnerable to being stricken. Wearing high heels can cause both bunions and hammertoe to occur, and the existence of a bunion alone—even if proper footwear is being worn—is enough to cause pressure imbalances that lead to the development of hammertoe.

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is often referred to as ‘wear and tear’ arthritis, and feet that have bunions have often experienced a great deal of wear and tear. This type of inflammatory disease will not ‘spread’ to other joints the way that other types of arthritis will. This is not to suggest that it is any less serious than other types of inflammatory disease. Not only is osteoarthritis painful but it may in turn lead to reduced mobility around the big toe and bunion as well as the development of bone spurs around the afflicted joint.

If the spurs around the joint become excessively pronounced it is referred to as a ‘dorsal’ bunion, which is not the same as ‘hallux valgus’, although both types of bunion may affect the same joint.

Metatarsalgia

This is a very general term that refers to pain in the front part of the underside of the foot near the metatarsal bones, which is located before the toes begin. It is frequently referred to as the ‘ball’ of the foot. Metatarsalgia generally occurs as a symptom to another problem and not as a problem itself. The existence of a bunion not only places excessive pressure on the underside of the foot in general but places particular stresses on the ball of the foot particularly, which often leads to the development of metatarsalgia.

Early treatment of bunions is important for effective treatment of both primary and secondary conditions associated with this type of deformity.

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