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Bunion (Hallux Valgus) Physiotherapy
A bunion (hallux valgus) is a large bump on the side of the foot that
develops at the base of the big toe (refer to image; take a look at your big toes, and then follow the line on the inside part of the foot - it's the joint just below the big toe).
Unfortunately it is common for a bunion to become
inflamed and swollen, causing foot pain.
Although anyone can develop a
bunion, this painful bunion condition occurs most of the time in
time, the bunion joint may become
and this causes
problems with shoe fit, pain, and even difficulty walking.
What our senior physiotherapists do to help patients with (painful) bunions is to
- improve the angle of the big toe
- improve their muscle strength
- improve their walking ability and
- reduce their
first of all, What is a Bunion?
A bunion is a bump on the side of the foot that develops at the base
of the big toe when the toe deviates (points/moves) inward.
Also, there are four classifications of the severity of a bunion: mild, moderate, large, or severe, depending on the size of the measured
angle at the toe. An angle of 20° or greater is considered abnormal.
There are several factors that may cause bunions, including:
- How the foot is shaped
- Flat arches
- Joint laxity (too much flexibility in the joint at the base of the big toe)
Tight footwear has often been blamed for bunions, but recent studies and research are saying that footwear may not be a large (if any) factor in their development. That being said, inappropriate and tight footwear can irritate a bunion by rubbing on the tissue
at the joint, and this leads to more swelling, inflammation and pain.
How Does a bunion Feel like?
How a bunion feels really depends and varies with each individual.
There is no
relationship between the severity of a bunion and the symptoms
experienced (this means some really bad bunions can be not painful, and some mild bunions can be really painful). Not all bunions cause symptoms; however, people with
bunions report mild to severe symptoms, including:
- Pain and swelling in the big toe joint that worsens with standing and walking
- Gradual enlargement of the bump on the side of the foot, which can become inflamed and swollen causing foot pain
- Pain when wearing shoes, making it difficult to find comfortable or stylish footwear
- Changes in how you walk
- Increased difficulty walking
- Changes in balance, increasing the risk of falling, particularly in older adults
- Crossing of the big toe and lesser toes, causing crowding of the toes, and possibly causing additional deformities and pain
- Reduced quality of life related to foot pain
Signs and Symptoms of bunions
If you see our senior physiotherapists first, they will
ask you about
- your medical history
- how your symptoms developed and
they are currently affecting you
They will observe
your walking pattern, particularly how you bear weight on the affected
foot with the bunion, and willexamine the foot and the big toe to observe any swelling,
deformity, or tenderness.
They will test the strength
of your foot and big toe, and measure your foot's flexibility and range
of motion, and will check your footwear for proper fit, and for wear
If your bunion is classified as severe, they may recommend a consultation with an orthopedic foot surgeon (we can refer you to our medical network as well).
How Can our senior PhysioTherapists Help?
Our senior physiotherapists will treat your bunion symptoms with
- gait training and
- education regarding proper
footwear and self-care for symptom management
The key focal goals of our senior physiotherapists treatment is to
- improve the angle of the big toe
- improve muscle
- reduce pain (pain relief)
Physiotherapy bunion treatments may include:
Manual Therapy. We may use
manual (hands-on) therapy to help improve the position of the big toe . We will gently move your big toe and ankle to
reduce joint tightness and any stiffness of the surrounding tissues, and
increase the big toe's bending range of motion.
Exercise. You will be taught range-of-motion,
stretching, and strengthening exercises to improve the alignment of the
big toe when standing, and improve your walking pattern. We will design an individualized exercise program based on your
Balance Training. To help reduce the risk of
falling, we will teach you standing and walking
exercises to improve your balance during movement.
Symptom Management. You will learn how to use
We may also apply specialized taping of the big
toe to improve the big toe's alignment, and reduce pain.We will recommend the best footwear for your condition.
Orthotics and Devices. We may
recommend the use of splints, foot orthotics, or assistive devices,
depending on your condition, and will train you in their use. They may
- Splints and toe separators to reduce pain and pressure on the big toe.
- Custom arch supports (foot orthotics) to help keep the foot and ankle in a midline position during walking.
- A cane, walker, or crutches (assistive devices) to reduce pain and improve walking ability.
physiotherapy After bunion Surgery
If your bunion pain level and deformity worsens to a point where you cannot find
comfortable footwear, or walking becomes difficult, you may choose to consider bunion
surgery to correct the position of the big toe.
Our senior physiotherapists can
help after your bunion surgery to
- restore the strength of the
- restore the flexibility of the
- reduce pain and
- improve your walking ability
Physiotherapy is different and varies with each patient, because it's based on their condition and the type of surgical procedure performed. After most surgeries, you will wear a special postoperative shoe to
protect your foot, and avoid putting pressure on the surgical area for
about 4 weeks.
A hospital physiotherapist will teach you
- how to walk with a cane,
walker, or crutches to avoid putting weight on the surgical area
- to help ensure that the bones will heal well
- the use of cold therapy and leg elevation to control pain
Post bunion surgery physiotherapy with our senior physiotherapists usually will begin 3 to 4 weeks
after surgery, and continue for 4 to 8 weeks. Treatments will include
the elements listed above.
The first session will focus on pain relief and
swelling management with the use of mild ankle range-of-motion exercises, cold therapy, and gentle retrograde massage. You will begin gait training with specific
instructions from us, and perform exercises in the
clinic and at home.
Postoperative physiotherapy will emphasize walking and learning
how to push off of your big toe properly to restore normal walking
ability. It will also include exercise to strengthen the big toe and
ankle, and movement to restore better bending of the big toe.
Do note that it is
important to regain strength and bending in the big toe to restore your
full walking ability. You will be encouraged to perform a home-exercise
program between physiotherapy treatment sessions as well as after the visits are
completed, to help you return to your job, leisure, or sport activities.
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Phoenix Rehab Physio Services
Phoenix Rehab Group works with specialist physiotherapists and rehab therapists who are highly trained, qualified, experienced and passionate to provide high level of expert care to our patients.
PHYSIOTHERAPY & PHYSICAL THERAPY
See all the conditions our principal physiotherapists treat.
HAND THERAPY & CUSTOMIZED SPLINTING
Patients who sustained injuries to their elbows, forearms, hands, wrists
(sprains and fractures) and fingers, usually will benefit / require Hand Therapy to
- manage and decrease hand pains
- improve range of motion, strength and dexterity
- increase the function of their hand
following injuries or post-operations
Commonly treated hand pain injuries includes
REFORMER CLINICAL PILATES & WELLNESS PILATES
Clinical Pilates is a form of physical exercise that focuses on posture, core stability, balance, control, strength, flexibility and breathing.
It is a system of safe and effective exercises, which
meet specific individual needs, to treat a wide range of injuries
You may do Pilates as matwork or with the reformer or both, and every session will be customized 100% to your fitness, injury and tolerance.
TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE (TCM)
- Cupping TCM
- Auricular Therapy TCM
- Herbal TCM Medicine & Supplementation
DEEP TISSUE RELEASE & SPORTS MASSAGE THERAPY
Sports and deep tissue release massage helps to increase nutrient-rich blood
flow to tired, tight and tense muscles to accelerate recovery and shorten downtime / recovery period required.
It also prevents
muscles from scar tissue micro-tears (and potential ruptures), and increases muscle
performance. Having regular deep tissue and sports massage will keep your muscles healthy and fit with body/movement-confidence.
Read the benefits of regular deep tissue release therapy here.
All our allied health therapists and TCM physicians are fully insured and registered with Allied Health Professions Council (AHPC) and Traditional Chinese Medicine Board (TCMB).
See our entire team here with introductions and their specializations.
At the first session, our specialist physiotherapists will carry out a thorough
assessment, helping them to select the most appropriate treatment to
help you recover as well as provide treatment in the same session.
Follow up sessions are inline to provide
expert treatment for your pain as well as prescribing specific
exercises to reduce your risk of re-injury and giving you a long term
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(or check your pains / injuries)
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