Photos and X-Rays of Feet With Bunion/HAV Deformities

Do You Have a Bunion?

Bunion/HAV Left Foot

Photo © Terence Vanderheiden, D.P.M.

Bunions, also known as hallux abducto valgus or just HAV, are a common problem, especially among women. Shoes sometimes cause and contribute to the problem, but heredity also plays a big role in the development of bunions. Treatment may be as simple as wearing wider shoes. If the bunion is very painful and limits your activities, you might need surgery.

For help with bunion pain, learn about 5 recommended products for bunions.

Notice the "bump" on the side of the foot near the base of the big toe—that's the bunion. Hallux is another name for your big toe.

Left Foot X-ray of Bunion/HAV

Photo © Terence Vanderheiden, D.P.M.

Notice the large angle between the first and second metatarsals. The larger this angle is, the more severe the bunion deformity. This bunion could arise from genetic predisposition, poor choice of footwear, or even the development of arthritis. 

Doctors assess the relative severity of a bunion by measuring several angles of the bones within the big toe. In general, the angle should be less than 15 degrees between the big toe and the first metatarsal. If the angle is larger, you're likely to be diagnosed with a bunion.

Bunion/HAV Left Foot

Photo © Terence Vanderheiden, D.P.M.

Notice the redness on the side of the foot near the big toe joint. Because of the "bump," this area gets a lot of pressure from shoes that are too tight. Bunions rarely appear without any other clinical problem. Because of the joint stress and your natural tendency to walk different to minimize the pain, you'll likely develop calluses as well. 

If you experience foot pain when you walk in loose, flat shoes, consider seeing your doctor or a podiatrist for a foot examination. 

X-ray Right Foot With Bunion/HAV

Photo © Terence Vanderheiden, D.P.M.

Notice the two small circular bones under the first metatarsal head (big toe area). These are called sesamoids. When the sesamoids are not directly under the first metatarsal head, the big toe tends to drift more toward the second toe.

Although some bunions may be treated with rest and changes in footwear or behavior, more serious situations may require surgery. Surgeons can perform one or more of several dozen different types of surgical intervention. In general, the surgical treatment plan will follow from the severity of the bunion. 

If you do have surgery, the location (hospital or outpatient surgery center) and anesthesia (local, general, spinal) will differ based on the specific intervention. What won't differ, however, is your recovery: Expect to stay off your foot for three to 12 weeks.

Bunion/HAV Right Foot

Photo © Terence Vanderheiden, D.P.M.

Notice how the big toe turns and leans against the second toe. Habitual wearing of narrow-pointed shoes can contribute to this change in the foot's structure if you wear too-tight shoes over several years. Bunions are more common in women because of modern-day footwear styles, but some men's shoe styles can also contribute to bunions. However, shoes may contribute to bunions but the underlying clinical cause is rooted in your family medical history.

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