Bunions (Hallux Abducto Valgus)

Even though bunions are a common foot deformity, there are misconceptions about them. Many people may unnecessarily suffer the pain of bunions for years before seeking treatment.

What is a Bunion?

A bunion (also referred to as hallux valgus or hallux abducto valgus) is often described as a bump on the side of the big toe. But a bunion is more than that. The visible bump actually reflects changes in the bony framework of the front part of the foot. The big toe leans toward the second toe, rather than pointing straight ahead. This throws the bones out of alignment – producing the bunion’s “bump.”

 

Bunions are a progressive disorder. They begin with a leaning of the big toe, gradually changing the angle of the bones over the years and slowly producing the characteristic bump, which becomes increasingly prominent. Symptoms usually appear at later stages, although some people never have symptoms.

Causes

Bunions are most often caused by an inherited faulty mechanical structure of the foot. It is not the bunion itself that is inherited, but certain foot types that make a person prone to developing a bunion.

Fractures of the Fifth Metatarsal

What is a Fifth Metatarsal Fracture?

Fractures (breaks) are common in the fifth metatarsal – the long bone on the outside of the foot that connects to the little toe.

Two types of fractures that often occur in the fifth metatarsal are:

  • 5th Metatarsal Avulsion fracture.

In an avulsion fracture, a small piece of bone is pulled off the main portion of the bone by a tendon or ligament. This type of fracture is the result of an injury in which the ankle rolls. Avulsion fractures are often overlooked when they occur with an ankle sprain.

  • Jones fracture.

Jones fractures occur in a small area of the fifth metatarsal that receives less blood and is therefore more prone to difficulties in healing. A Jones fracture can be either a stress fracture (a tiny hairline break that occurs over time) or an acute (sudden) break. Jones fractures are caused by overuse, repetitive stress, or trauma. They are less common and more difficult to treat than avulsion fractures.

Other types of fractures can occur in the fifth metatarsal.

Examples include

  • mid-shaft fractures, which usually result from trauma or twisting, and
  • fractures of the metatarsal head and neck.

Symptoms

Avulsion and Jones fractures have the same signs and symptoms.

These include:

  • Pain, swelling, and tenderness on the outside of the foot
  • Difficulty walking
  • Bruising may occur