Teens Can Get Bunions Too

You’ve likely seen the pictures of Amal Clooney’s bunions on display in strappy heels, along with Katie Holmes’ and Serena Williams’ bumps by their big toes. What you might not know is that you don’t have to be famous, or even a grownup, to develop this toe deformity. Teens get bunions too—although usually for different reasons.

They are called juvenile bunions, and they usually (but not always) occur in girls. When the joint by the big toe becomes deformed this early in life, it is usually due to something we call hypermobility or loose-jointedness. This means that for some reason the ligaments holding bones together in a joint are lax, which makes it easier for the joint to move out of position.

When a young girl whose big toe joint is starting to bend outward begins wearing heels and shoes that are too tight, the situation can deteriorate quickly. The problem is that we prefer to hold off on surgery until growth is completed and the growth plates in the bones have closed.

In the meantime, what can your daughter do about this issue and any pain it is causing? The first option is shoe choice. Let comfort and roominess be the standard when it comes to choosing shoes. We might mention that the current craze for flip flops is not helping matters at all. These styles require you to clench your toes to keep them on. When you already have joints that easily move out of position, this repeated action just increases the tendency for bunions to form.

It is possible your child might receive some benefit from custom orthotics if we find he or she overpronates (rolls the foot too far inward) while walking. This gait style contributes to bunion formation, so correcting it with orthotics that seek to rebalance the foot and support the arch may help.

As soon as you notice that your teen’s big to joint is starting to bend out, and the toe is drifting in toward the others, call Sierra Foot & Ankle for an evaluation. We’ll diagnose the issue and help find the best solution to stop its progression and take care of any symptoms. You can reach our office in Gardnerville, NV by calling (775) 783-8037 or toll-free at (888) 608-8406. You can also schedule online.
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