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Hallux valgus - ball toes: what helps against pain and deformed toes?


What measures help with hallux valgus?
Misalignment of the toes can intensify in the long term and lead to considerable problems. One of the most common symptoms in this direction is the so-called hallux valgus (also called the ball toe), in which the big toe is increasingly inclined. Surgery is often necessary, especially in the advanced stage. But with physiotherapy exercises and aids such as toe spreaders or splints, relief can often be achieved without surgery.

Women in particular are increasingly affected by hallux valgus, whereby - in addition to genetically determined disposition and the weaker connective tissue - wearing the wrong footwear is the main cause. High-heeled, tight shoes that taper to the front create a considerable strain in the long term, which can result in a corresponding malposition. The big toe is shifted diagonally towards the second toe. The ball of the big toe, on the other hand, appears more on the inside of the foot.

Deformation of the big toe joint
Without treatment, the symptoms worsen and there is increased inflammation in the big toe joint, which is associated with considerable pain. Bone tissue, tendons, muscles and other soft parts are deformed strongly and the big toe joint is moved outwards. "There is a bony bulge at the bottom of the foot below the big toe," the orthopedic surgeon Ramin Nazemi from Essen told the news agency "dpa". The displaced joint presses uncomfortably against the shoe, which can further intensify the symptoms.

Timely to the doctor
If changes in the position of the toes are noticeable, a doctor or specialist (orthopedic surgeon) should be consulted promptly, as long-term irreversible damage may result. These can also affect the knee, hip and back, as the rolling behavior of the foot and the entire gait may change. According to the orthopedic surgeon Mellany Galla, chair of the Society for Foot and Ankle Surgery (GFFC), toe spreaders and targeted foot muscle training are suitable for treating hallux valgus. In the early stages of hallux valgus in particular, these can often help alleviate the symptoms, the expert reports in the “dpa” message.

Treatment of hallux valgus
In addition to the toe spreaders, which are clamped between the big toe and the second toes as soft pads made of silicone or similar material, to keep the distance, special splints are also available, which can be used to correct malpositions of the big toe. Bandages and so-called kinesiological taping are said to achieve a comparable effect. Last but not least, physiotherapeutic exercises that train the muscles of the toes are often a successful approach to treatment. However, orthopedic insoles are not helpful, says Ramin Nazemi.

In the worst case, surgery is required
In the worst case, the alleviation of the symptoms cannot be achieved with all of the methods mentioned and surgery remains the only treatment option. However, there are a variety of different surgical procedures available, which should be specifically adapted to the respective symptoms of those affected. Existing malpositions are corrected as part of the procedure and the deformations are corrected as far as possible. Basically, it is important to wear a bandage shoe consistently for six to eight weeks after the procedure so that the corrected bone does not break, the orthopedic surgeon Nazemi emphasizes in the "dpa" announcement.

The risk of hallucx valgus can be influenced primarily by footwear. Comfortable, well-fitting shoes, without higher heels are appropriate here. With special exercises, the foot muscles can be strengthened and malpositions can be prevented. After a single briefing, for example by a doctor or physiotherapist, these exercises can also be carried out independently. (fp)

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Video: About Lesser Toe Deformities (June 2021).