Hallux varus is a condition affecting the big toe. As opposed to a bunion, which causes the big toe to point inward toward the other toes, hallux varus causes the big toe to point away from the other toes.
The most common symptom other than the directional leaning of the toe is pain. The discomfort is primarily a result of friction from rubbing against the shoes worn, which may cause blisters to form. If there is also pressure on the toenail from a shoe, the hallux varus may be accompanied by an ingrown nail as well. In rare instances, the joint is extremely unstable and may cause the big toe to dislocate.
Hallux varus may result from a congenital deformity, a short or tight tendon or trauma to the big toe. However, the most frequent cause is bunion surgery that overcorrects the problem.
To diagnose a hallux varus, your doctor will take a medical history as well as perform a thorough examination of your foot. This usually provides enough information for your doctor to determine what has caused the hallux varus to develop.
The treatment of hallux varus varies depending on exactly why it formed. In the case of a tight tendon, a combination of stretching exercises, splinting and corrective shoes is often successful. If these conservative methods do not provide relief, surgery may be required on the soft tissues and/or the bones to straighten the toe. Surgery may also be necessary when the hallux varus has developed due to a bunionectomy.