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We’ve all heard about bunions(Hallux vulgaris), those bumps that form on the side of your foot when the big toe leans toward the second toe. Hallux varus is just the opposite, and can be just as painful. With this condition, the big toe (hallux) leans away from the second toe. The two toes form a V shape, but it’s no victory sign--there is something wrong with the position of the bones that makes the big toe stick out sideways.

What Causes Hallux Varus?

There are two types of this condition: congenital and acquired. The first type is diagnosed at birth. It can be caused by a tight band of tissue in the foot that pulls the toe outward, a forefoot deformity, or severe abnormalities in the skeleton. This type is not as common, but is easier to address while the child is still young. In these cases, the tissues are softer and the structure hasn’t become rigid.

The acquired form is often a complication of a previous surgery to correct bunionsor remove the sesamoid bones. It can also result from diseases like arthritis, or an injury to the foot.

 Treatments for this Condition

If the abnormality is present at birth, but is mild and doesn’t cause any pain, it may not even need treatment. We are usually able to treat even more difficult cases in infancy with manipulation and splints or casts. Only severe cases may need surgery to correct the tendon function or to reposition the bones.

For an acquired condition, however, the problem may be more complex. Some people may contact Axis Foot & Ankle Clinic when they first notice that gap between their big toe and second toe, or if they are having trouble finding shoes to fit. Other patients may wait until the toe is sticking out to the side and the pain is more than they want to bear, but this makes treatment more difficult.

Since this condition often occurs after previous surgery on the toes, people may hesitate to go through that process again. We will try conservative treatments first, such as stretching the abductor halluces tendons with exercises or through use of a splint. Sometimes, though, surgery will be the only way to correct the position of the toe and bring relief from the pain. If so, we will guide you through every step of the process. Many times the problem can be corrected with a simple procedure such as making an incision in the toe and splinting the bone or joint into the correct position, or by adjusting the way the tendons are attached to the bones.

Where to Find Help

In the Calgary, AB area, Axis Foot & Ankle Clinic is the place to go for painful toes and feet. Dr. Andrew Irvinehas the experience to correctly diagnose and treat all your foot problems. Call (403) 477-3338 today and set up an appointment at one of our three locations: the Pacific Place Medical Clinic, the Scenic Acres Medical Clinic, or the Deer Valley Family Medical Clinic. You can also request an appointmenton our contact page. We want to help your feet back to comfort and good health!

 

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