Children’s Bunions: Little Kids—Big Toe Bumps

Sometimes kids have bad dreams, or are afraid of things that go bump in the night. You can check for monsters under the bed to calm their fears, but what about the bump that’s on their big toe—the one that’s got you concerned? While bunions are typically seen in adults, children can get them too. Not to fear, though. Just as your kids can depend on you for help, you can depend on us to ease your worries. There are treatments for children’s bunions to keep kids as active as their imaginations.

Mom, Where Do Bunions Come From?

Unless you have a young daughter who’s a high fashion diva, or is constantly playing dress-up, bunions do not develop in children as a result of wearing high heels—one of the most common culprits for this deformity in adult women. Rather, these bony protrusions by the big toe are usually caused by an inherited bone structure—as if parents don’t get blamed for enough stuff already! The two most likely explanations are a flatfoot condition or hypermobility of the big toe’s MTP joint.

When kids’ bones are misaligned, it can cause the big toe to drift toward the others, forcing the joint outward and forming a juvenile bunion. If your child has flat feet, he or she is even more vulnerable to this condition. Even though high heels may not be a likely contributing factor, shoes that are too tight definitely are. Keeping up with your kids’ growing feet and making sure that their shoes fit correctly are essential components to preventing children’s bunions from developing.

If your child is complaining of pain in his or her big toe joint, or if you notice swelling, redness, and the big toe cozying up to its neighbors, you should make an appointment at Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists. We can evaluate your child’s condition and determine the best course of action. Typically pediatric bunion care involves padding the area and using a toe spacer or splint at night to keep the toe in its proper position. There are stretches, too, that can help ease discomfort. Custom orthotic shoe inserts will likely be recommended. These will address biomechanical issues that may be causing the problem, as well as redistribute weight to take pressure away from the painful bump.

When Treatments Are Exhausted

Unfortunately, bunions are a progressive condition, meaning they will only get worse once formed. Conservative treatment will manage the problem and slow progression, however if pain is significant and interfering with your child’s activities, as well as his or her ability to wear shoes, surgery may need to be taken into consideration. Procedures are dependent upon the severity of the problem, but typically entail cutting the bones to realign them, and rearranging surrounding tendons and ligaments. This has to be done with great care so as not to disturb the growth plate, which is why all other treatment options should be exhausted before turning to surgery as a last resort.

At first, children’s bunions may seem alarming, but with prompt pediatric bunion care, the condition can be managed before it turns into a nightmare. Schedule an appointment with the podiatrists of Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists in Austin, TX. Call (512) 328-8900 today, and we’ll help to keep your kids up and at ‘em with all of the activities of their dreams!

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Dr. Craig H. Thomajan, DPM, FACFAS, FAENS
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Founder and Managing Partner of Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists