Bunions are not a serious condition, but can affect both adults and children. In children suffering from bunions, the two bones in the joint of the big toe are not aligned to each other, which can make the big toe stick out. The bony bump is referred to as a bunion.
Estimates suggest that bunions are frequently observed in children. Studies have shown that usually bunions tend to get worse with age, as the joints continue to move out of line, which makes it increasingly difficult to treat them. There is limited research about bunions, which limits the understanding of its causes and treatment options.
The prevalence of bunions in children is about two in 100 children and is noticeable around the age of 9 to 10 years. While most children may not experience the symptoms, the abnormality of the toe joint can be observed on the X- ray.
Causes Of Bunions In Children
Bunions are relatively common condition and can affect children. While there is little known about the causes for the development of this condition, this deformity is largely attributed to inheritance, since most of our foot function patterns are based on inheritance. Bunions are also linked with flat foot (i.e. a condition where the arch of the feet is missing) or abnormality in the fusion of the toe joint.
This condition is painful and a progressive disorder and in turn increases the stress on the big toe, which is an important weight bearing joint. If not treated promptly bunions tend to deteriorate with time and become increasingly painful.
Non Surgical Treatment For Bunions
The treatment regimen can be categorized into non-surgical treatment and surgical treatment. Fortunately in children, bunions can be promptly treated with non-surgical treatment modalities. Here are some treatment options for the management of bunions,
- Rest and cold compress are very important to help reduce the swelling, inflammation and pain associated with bunions.
- Doctors often prescribe insoles, also referred to orthoses, which are soft pad like material, which protect the child’s foot from shock and support the weight of the child while moving. There are different types of insoles and the doctor would be able to suggest the best alternative based on the condition of your child.
- Homeopathic remedies like Bryonia and Rhus Tox are considered to be useful in management of the pain, inflammation and the swelling. Biochemic remedies like Calcarea Phos and Calcarea Carb may also be used to reduce local pain.
If non-surgical treatment options fail to provide sustained relief, surgery is often recommended, which aims at putting the toe joint back in line. The surgery is however conducted only after the bones have grown fully between the ages of 14 to 16 years.
Surgery that is performed at an earlier age is likely to fail, as the bunion may eventually grow as the bone matures.