Hallux Varus: Big Toes Out of Position

Robert G. Parker
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Dr. Parker is a podiatrist and surgeon in Houston, TX who has been helping patients for more than 40 years.

Big toe painIf you suffer from hallux varus you know the problems it can cause. Having your big toe out of position can make it uncomfortable, difficult to find shoes that fit, and even embarrassing. It does not have to be this way. You can get treatment for this foot deformity, and it can even be treated conservatively without surgery in many cases.

What is Hallux Varus?

This condition is a deformity of the foot where the big toe points in the opposite direction from the second toe. Many babies are born with flexible hallux varus, which can correct itself over time after they begin walking. Usually if someone is born with this deformity it is because of how they were positioned in the womb. Other things that can cause this problem include bunion surgery, trauma, an absence of a sesamoid bone, and short abductor hallucis tendons. You might find that you have difficulty walking or standing, soreness in your feet and legs, limited range of motion, swelling, or even ingrown toenails.

Conservative Treatment Options for Hallux Varus

Typically this abnormality can be treated with conservative measures. Your doctor may prescribe certain anti-inflammatory medications to help with swelling. They can also prescribe a custom-made orthotic to fit inside your shoe. This may help hold your foot in a more natural position and it can even help ease your pain or discomfort. You might benefit from steroid injections to help with swelling. One of the best ways to treat the condition is with physical therapy. The main goal of these stretches is to strengthen the abductor hallucis tendons. You can also use toe splints for this same effect.

Surgical Options

However, in some extremely severe cases these conservative methods may not be enough. If you have exhausted every other option, your doctor may decide that you are a good candidate for surgery. There are different types of surgery and not one type will work for every case. For example, if your condition is more fixed or rigid, you might need to have an arthrodesis, while someone with a more flexible case of hallux varus might need to have a tendon transfer. Other types of surgery include sesamoidectomy, medial capsular structure lengthening, and total joint release. This is just a small list with many other options available. You can decide with your podiatrist what will work best for you. As always, it is of the utmost importance that you follow all post-operative instructions including whether or not you will wear an orthotic or engage in physical therapy.

When to Seek Help

If you suffer from hallux varus, you should see us as soon as possible. This kind of deformity isn’t something you want to let linger, as it will only get worse over time. Call Dr. Robert Parker at (281) 497-2850 to schedule a first appointment. At Parker Foot and Ankle in Houston we can help diagnose your problem and then create a treatment plan that is unique to you.