What are bunions and how do they develop?

Mr Sam Singh | November 14, 2022 | Video

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Mr Sam Singh, who was lead foot and ankle surgeon at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust for 16 years, explains how bunions form and how they're corrected.

I’m Sam Singh, a Consultant Foot and Ankle surgeon. I have been the lead consultant at Guy’s and St Thomas’ for sixteen years. I have a special interest in bunion surgery and perform more than two hundred and fifty of these procedures a year, here in London.

How do bunions occur?

So, this is a normal foot and you can see in the normal foot, that the metatarsal bones are all well aligned. Now, when you have a bunion deformity, what happens then, is the metatarsal bone ends up drifting outwards. As it drifts outwards, you get a foot that's much wider, but also, you get the bump that then rubs on the shoe. And as that bump rubs, the tissue around it gets thicker, and as it gets thicker, you get inflammation and pain.

What is the process for removing a bunion surgically?

So, to correct a bunion, what we have to do is release the deforming forces. Then we have to shave the bunion and break the metatarsal bone - to really break and realign it - to give the patient a narrower and straighter foot. Which means you get a better correction, but you also get a much lower chance of the problem coming back.

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