Age has a way of skewing expectations sometimes, and that can be particularly true with medical conditions. A bunion is often thought of as a problem only experienced during the adult years of life after feet have traveled plenty of miles. This is not always the case, however. Teens can also suffer from this condition, which might come as a surprise to many parents. So what causes juvenile bunions, and what can be done to treat them?
They Shift So Young
A bunion is a bump pressing out of the joint at the base of the big toe, caused by the gradual shifting of the big toe inward toward the second toe. This places pressure on the joint, which gradually forms into the bump.
Many begin to see their bunions develop later in life, and it is believed a life of tight-fitting shoes helps them progress over time. Some teens, however, will develop juvenile bunions regardless of which shoes they wear. The cause in these cases is often genetically inherited abnormality in foot shape and runs in family trees.
Juvenile bunions tend to be most common in girls between the ages of 10-15, but boys are capable of developing them as well. Having flat feet, overpronation, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, and other factors can increase one’s risk.
What to Do Now for the Future
While an adult with a bunion often has limited motion in the joint of their big toe, a juvenile bunion often still has a normal range of motion. It can still cause pain or irritation, however; especially if it rubs up against the inside of a shoe.
Attempting to address the bunion through surgery is not a recommended step at this point in life. Such a procedure performed while a child is still growing comes with a strong chance that the bunion will reform. Surgery is only recommended at this time if there is extreme pain and measures such as changes in shoes do not provide any help. The older the child is before surgery, the better.
The primary mission of juvenile bunion treatment is to manage the condition and any discomfort it causes. A variety of means can be employed to accomplish this, with results depending on each specific case. Changing the type and shape of shoes worn by the child often has a great impact, and the use of devices such as custom orthotics, toe spacers, and splints can also prove helpful. Exercises for the feet can also be recommended to strengthening and conditioning against further progression of the bump.
If bunions have become a problem for your child, addressing them as early as possible will increase the odds of successful management and comfort in the future. The podiatrists at Martin Foot and Ankle are ready to take on foot and ankle discomfort for all points of life, and can recommend the best treatments based on an individual’s unique lifestyle and needs. Call us at (717) 757-3537 to schedule an appointment at any of our Pennsylvania podiatry offices: Hanover, York, Lancaster, and Lititz.