Solutions for Adolescent Hallux Valgus
Yep – even a kid can get a bunion. Adolescent Hallux Valgus or juvenile hallux valgus is the proper term for a bunion that develops during childhood. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, surgery is not recommended for children with bunions unless the afflicted is in extreme pain. If your juvenile or adolescent hallux valgus (bunion) sufferer opts for bunion surgery anyway – especially while he or she is still growing – chances are good that the bunion will return after surgery.
Often, teens with bunions have flat feet or excessive pronation, which can result in splaying of the metatarsals (toes) and eventually end up causing bunions. That’s not to say that any child with flat feet will develop bunions – in fact, that is not true at all. Studies have shown that it’s the inherited genetic make-up that will determine if your child is predisposed to developing bunions. The fact that your child has flat feet just means he or she has a second contributing factor. This typically has a way of bringing the bunions to the forefront earlier than probably expected.
The most common demographic of adolescent Hallux Valgus in the teen community are girls between the ages of 10 and 15. Even at such a young age, more than half of young bunion sufferers are female. Often, if there is pain it is due to the onset of Bursitis – where the small sac between the tendon and bone becomes inflamed. This will start to force the big toe to angle toward the second toe. Naturally, the most conclusive way to determine whether the affliction is a bunion is to take an x-ray of the condition itself. Unfortunately, there is not much a doctor can do to treat the bunion, especially when it occurs in an individual at such a young age. Any doctor who suggests surgery on your adolescent Hallux Valgus patient should be reevaluated and a second opinion should be sought.
Tips for Those with Adolescent Hallux Valgus
There are tips that parents can consider in order to prevent the progression of adolescent Hallux Valgus. Most of these tips can be put into practice while shoe shopping:
- Have your child’s foot measured regularly, ideally each time you purchase new shoes
- Make sure you measure both feet, because just as with adults, the shoe size may differ by foot
- If your child’s feet are different sizes, go with the larger size
- During the fitting, make sure your child is standing and that, at minimum three-eights of an inch for space remains between the toe and the shoe
- Make sure the area around the ball of the foot is not too tight (go with a wider shoe if needed)
- Shop with the thickest socks that might be worn with the shoes
If needed, shoe stretchers are available to help give children’s bunions the space they need. According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, parents can also try taping the foot in order to maintain a normal position and reduce stress and pain. Toe spacers, bunion splints and anti-pronation running shoes are suggested, but what might work the best and most comfortably are Bunion Booties.
Bunion Booties accomplish the same thing as bunion splints and toe spacers. The difference is that Bunion Booties are made up entirely of a soft flexible material that can be easily and comfortably worn in any shoe. Additional conservative treatments may include icing, NSAID medication and wearing wide-toed shoes.