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Hallux Valgus: What is it, Surgery, Life After Surgery

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Hallux Valgus: What is it, Surgery, Life After Surgery

Hallux valgus, or thumb protrusion as it is commonly known, is a disease that usually occurs in middle age and occurs when the thumb turns inward. As the thumb turns inward, the metatarsal bone in this finger also turns outward, resulting in a deformity in the foot. Due to this developing extroversion, it causes foot pain and pain in the shoe. In addition to the pain in the shoes, as the disease progresses, patients also experience pain and suffering due to hallux valgus while walking. At the same time, there may be inflammation and swelling around the thumb due to blistering and poor circulation. Not being able to step on the soles of the feet clearly can cause poor posture and callus formation, resulting in a number of discomforts.

What are the symptoms of Hallux Valgus?

Hallux valgus has symptoms that can distinguish it from many diseases that can occur in the foot. Thus, with early examination and timely diagnosis, it can be treated before it reaches advanced stages. These symptoms can be listed as follows:

  • Deformity: The inward turning of the big toe begins to deteriorate the structure and shape of the foot. It is the most characteristic symptom of hallux vagus.
  • Callus: Calluses begin to form due to pressure under and around the big toe.
  • Pain: Pain starts from the thumb and spreads to the foot in the form of an ache and begins to be felt throughout the body.
  • Redness: Redness becomes evident especially when wearing narrow and pointed shoes. It causes pain and swelling.
  • Restlessness: Due to reasons such as deformity, calluses and rash, the person may experience gait disturbances, discomfort and a decrease in the quality of life. Restlessness occurs due to limitation of movement.
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What Causes Hallux Valgus Protrusion?

The most important cause of hallux valgus is genetic, that is, it is transmitted between family members. Although it is generally seen in individuals who have the habit of wearing narrow and high-heeled shoes, it can also be seen in individuals who wear wide and flat-soled shoes. In addition, hallux valgus is a disease that occurs more in women than in men. The patient groups in which it is most commonly seen can be listed as follows:

  • Those with flat feet have an increased risk of hallux valgus.
  • Thumb protrusion may also occur in individuals with high arch complaints.
  • Individuals with a short Achilles tendon also have a high risk of hallux valgus.
  • Foot and finger deformities may be more common in people with weight problems and therefore increased pressure on the feet.
  • Hallux valgus is also more common in individuals with some rheumatic problems.
  • Hip and knee joint anomalies can also cause dislocated thumb.

Hallux Valgus Workshop

Hallux vagus splint is a product used to correct the protrusion in the thumb. It is adjustable according to the person’s foot structure and size, making it easy to use. Especially if it is used in the stages of deformity, very positive results can be obtained. Velcro or adhesive splints direct the thumb tip towards the anatomical point where it should be, especially depending on the shape of the protrusion, and correction is achieved in this way. However, regular use is very important for the splint to work. Although the valgus splint, also called night splint, is mostly used at night, it is also very beneficial to increase the duration of use during the day. It should be used with the guidance of a physician after the necessary orthopedic and physical therapy examinations.

How to Diagnose Hallux Valgus?

Physical examination is essential to diagnose hallux valgus. Both the specific deformity caused by the disease and the angle and curvature can be determined by physician examination. It is very important for the patient to stand barefoot in order to see the perspective and anatomical structure. The patient’s history is also taken, and most patients complain of pain that increases when standing for a long time. These complaints may increase due to factors such as being overweight and wearing high-heeled shoes. An x-ray is required as a definitive diagnostic method. The shape of the bone and joint structure in the examined films is the clearest method for diagnosing hallux valgus.

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What are the Hallux Valgus Treatment Methods?

There are different treatment techniques used in the treatment of hallux valgus. Treatment methods may vary depending on the size, development and stage of the disease. The type of treatment to be applied is determined by the orthopedic specialist physician. These treatments can be listed as follows:

  • Valgus Splint: Also known as foot splint, this method is a frequently used solution in the early stages of the disease. It ensures that the thumb has the ideal anatomical structure and shape. Successful results can be achieved with regular use. The process should be followed by an orthopedic physician and checks should not be interrupted.
  • Lifestyle Change: If individuals do not have complaints such as intense pain and the inability to walk or step on their feet, small changes can provide permanent well-being. Not wearing high-heeled shoes and not choosing feet with narrow and compressive molds can provide significant improvements for hallux valgus in the first stage.
  • Physical Activity: Exercises for the thumb are exercises in which the deformity is directed to the opposite side. Practicing these exercises regularly ensures that the bone and joint structure reaches its ideal line. Moving the finger in the opposite direction also prevents the progression of hallux valgus.
  • Silicone Appliances: Silicone appliances, which do not disturb the thumb and reduce thumb protrusion, are very useful and comfortable, especially in the early stages of hallux valgus. The purpose of using silicone appliances is to reduce the bunion on the thumb and bring the thumb closer to its ideal plane.
  • Orthosis: In hallux valgus, orthoses are generally used in the evenings. The aim is to correct the deformity by forcing the thumb according to the severity required by the patient. Thus, a painless but permanent treatment is provided.
  • Bone Rasping Method: This method is now used for patients who need second-line treatment methods. Without an intensive surgical procedure, only the protrusion on the patient’s big toe is treated. It is applied to individuals whose pain and complaints have increased to a level where silicone appliances and orthoses cannot yield results. Only the bone part where the big toe protrudes is filed down, without any other part of the foot being treated. This eliminates pain and discomfort while walking or wearing shoes.
  • Osteotomy: Surgical treatment is available for individuals with advanced hallux valgus disease and who have no chance of getting results from first and second-line treatments. Hallux valgus surgery is called osteotomy. With this method, the bunion formed in the foot is removed by orthopedic surgery. The big toe is brought into correct alignment and the operation is completed. In this way, the risk of recurrence of hallux valgus is prevented.
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How is Hallux Valgus Surgery Performed?

Hallux valgus surgery, also called osteotomy, is preferred when the protrusion in the thumb reaches a point of no return. The bunion, or protrusion, that occurs as a result of the thumb pointing outward, is removed. Afterwards, the thumb bones and joints are brought to the ideal anatomical plane. The surgery may take around an hour on average. Generally, patients are discharged the next day at the latest, but at this point the decision belongs to the orthopedic physician.

Life After Hallux Valgus Surgery

The rest period after hallux valgus surgery is very important. Generally, a cast is not needed and patients can start walking early with special dressings and shoes unless the doctor says otherwise. Attention should be paid to issues such as not moistening the foot bandage and protecting it hygienically. Antibiotic treatment can be applied under the supervision of a physician to prevent infection. At the end of the process, people can walk normally and regain their health without pain or feeling pressure in their shoes. Do not be late to contact our institution and make an appointment to get information about hallux valgus treatment and to heal with treatments planned specifically for you.

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