Preconceived notions don’t always reflect reality. That cashier who you think is being rude to you on purpose? She’s actually stressed out because her car needs work and she barely makes enough to cover rent, insurance, food, and utilities. The guy who cut you off on the highway? He just didn’t know the exit he needed was coming up so quickly. That bunion on your foot? Not actually caused because of footwear choices!
Wait, women's shoes don't cause bunions? Well, think about it this way – if they did, how come kids get bunions too? The fact of the matter is, bunions can happen to virtually anyone who has a foot and big toe. Sure, they might be more common for adult females—and shoe choices can exacerbate an existing condition—but we sometimes have to treat kids and teens who have developed this condition.
When we look at juvenile bunions, they are fairly similar to those we might find in an adult female. The big toe has started to angle towards the four smaller ones, which then pushes the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint out of position. The MTP joint is simply where the toe connects to the foot, and this is the bony protrusion you will see on the inside of your son or daughter’s foot.
It’s worth mentioning the fact that boys can develop juvenile bunions, but the condition is more commonly seen in girls. At this time, there’s no clear explanation for why this happens, though.
So, since children are not usually spending loads of time wearing stilettos or pumps, how is it that they can end up with bunions? Essentially, it’s all a matter of either abnormal foot structure or biomechanics. If the connective tissues make the MTP joint hypermobile, it can move beyond its intended range – and this includes angling inwards. With regards to biomechanics, children who overpronate (which is often associated with flat feet) place extra pressure on the MTP joint, and this can also drive it out of position.
Bunions are progressive. This means two important things – 1) left untreated, they continue to worsen over time and 2) the only way to completely correct the condition is with surgery. To that second point, it is possible to manage symptoms and halt progression without surgical intervention; it just requires surgery to actually straighten out the wayward toe.
Early intervention is best for any condition, and particularly in the case of progressive ones like this. If your son or daughter has developed a juvenile bunion, bring him or her in to see us here at Richardson Podiatry Center. We provide effective, compassionate care for all of our patients, and are especially gentle with our younger ones!
Call us today at (972) 690-5374 for more information or to request an appointment.