Non-Invasive Bunion Treatment in Singapore
In Singapore, bunions, also known as “hallux valgus”, are a common deformity charactered by a bulge or swelling you can see near the base of the big toe. Although it may seem as if an extra bone has grown on the side of the foot, the protruding bump is actually caused by the big toe deviating from its normal position towards the direction of the second toe. These deformities start off subtle, but can eventually become painful and unsightly. If neglected, the condition can worsen, causing the toes to overlap, resulting in constant pain in the joint which will not only greatly restrict shoe choice but also severely limit daily activities of the individual as well. The level of pain and visual deformity can be so extreme that sufferers may wonder if there is a cure for bunions.
What causes bunions in Singapore?
Wearing heels are not the primary cause of bunion development; if that were the case, then every woman who has ever worn heels would have painful, unsightly forefoot protrusions and lumps. Bunions are actually caused by a variety of factors which include:
- Genetic Heredity
- Unsuitable Footwear
The main cause of bunions in Singapore is genetic. It is not uncommon for our podiatrists to see bunions across multiple generations of a patient’s family.
What are the symptoms?
Patients with this condition will usually experience
- Pain in and around the toe, corns at the peak of pressure
- Redness and swelling at the joint contracture
- Restricted movement
- Pain at the base of the affected toe.
However, some patients feel little or no pain and the only sign are the visible bumps on the edge of the feet. Even though there is no immediate pain, worsening bunions will lead to secondary problems in other parts of the foot and leg.
Is bunion treatment in Singapore possible without surgery?
As experts in the anatomy of the lower extremities, podiatrists offer non-surgical treatment solutions that are personalised for your needs. These treatment modalities can include ergonomic shoes, sports taping, orthotic insoles or ESWT treatment to break up calcium deposits and stretch the ligaments and tendons. However, for severe bunion conditions, a podiatrist may recommend surgery by orthopaedic specialist doctors.
A podiatrist will:
- Assess joint functions
- Treat to reduce strain on the joints
- Prescribe customised foot orthotics to help realign the joint and control foot function, reducing long-term damage and pain
A common solution for bunions in Singapore is surgery. While surgery will help to remove the bunions, it does not prevent relapse. Other measures must be taken to remove the underlying causes of the problem. To do so, orthotic insoles are often required after bunion surgery to ensure that the foot is preserved in an optimal position, thus facilitating recovery and preventing reoccurrence.
Frequently Ask Questions
This bony growth at the base of your big toe is known as a bunion. Bunions occur when the bones in that area shift out of place. When this happens, your big toe is pushed towards the other toes while the joint at the base shifts outwards instead.
While many people in Singapore believe bunions are caused by wearing shoes such as high heels, but current research leans towards hereditary factors as being the largest risk factor for developing bunions. Those with certain types of foot type or conditions are at greater risk and so are those in occupations that require long periods of standing or walking.
One of the common questions we get in clinic is if the bunion will go away on its own. Bunions do not disappear or revert to their original shape without outside intervention and are likely to worsen over time.
As bunions do not go away on their own, neglecting a bunion allows it to worsen. Left untreated, a bunion can often develop to the point where the big toe totally overlaps the second toe and surgery is the only possible option. Early treatment of this issue is critical to avoid such developments.
Conservative treatment of a bunion without surgery focuses on two aspects, preventative and maintenance. As bunions are likely to worsen over time, the treatment for patients who have developed a bony growth is to maintain the situation and prevent it from worsening. If the bunion is sufficiently advanced, you may be advised to undergo surgery instead.
As the deformity can be highly intrusive or obvious, some patients may choose to have them removed for aesthetic purposes. The typical recommendation in Singapore and overseas is that surgery should not be a first option unless the patient is experiencing severe pain or that the deformity continues to progress despite conservative treatment.
If you frequently wear tight-fitting or poor-fitting footwear, changing your shoes could potentially help with slowing the development of the bunion. However, if the bunion has already started to occur, it is more likely to slowly worsen over time even when you have changed your footwear. This is because your foot may already be putting extra stress on that joint due to the current level of deformity.