What are Bunions & Hammertoes?

A bunion, or hallux valgus, presents as a swollen, bony protrusion along the big toe. Beyond the visible lump, it signifies a change in the bone structure at the foot’s front, often leading to misalignment of bones over time. While some bunions cause minor discomfort, others can be intensely painful, potentially requiring surgical intervention by our specialized orthopedic team.

Unlike bunions, hammertoes affect the second, third, or fourth toe, causing an abnormal curvature, particularly at the middle joint. This curvature can lead to friction, causing calluses and corns. Hammertoes also limit toe motion, making daily activities challenging and painful.

Anatomy of Toes

Toes are the individual appendages of the foot.Toes, each composed of three phalanx bones (except the big toe with two), connect to metatarsal bones at joints. The big toe is the hallux, followed by the long toe, middle toe, ring toe, and little toe.

Causes of Bunions and Hammertoes

Genes: Your natural foot shape can contribute; flat or high-arched feet may lead to instability and deformities.
Poor Shoes: Ill-fitting shoes, especially high heels, may exert pressure on toes, increasing the risk of hammertoes.
Neuromuscular Disease: Conditions like diabetes may heighten the risk, requiring careful footwear adjustments.
Trauma: Injuries, though rare, can result in hammertoes.

Diagnosis of Bunions and Hammertoes

Our orthopedic experts analyze your medical history, assess pain intensity, inspect the affected area, and may use diagnostic imaging for precision.

Treatment of Bunions and Hammertoes

Treatment varies based on the cause. Options include footwear changes, padding, inserts, and ice. Surgery may be necessary, addressing swollen tissue, bone adjustments, or joint correction.

Consult our doctors at South Bend Orthopedic if you experience difficulty walking, persistent toe pain, deformity, or pain associated with swelling, warmth, or redness.

Your foot health matters, and at our practice, we’re here to guide you through understanding and managing bunions and hammertoes for optimal well-being.