Bunion (Hallux Valgus)

A bunion is a visible, bony bump that forms at the joint of the toe. It occurs when some of the bones in the front part of the foot move out of place. For example, when the big toe forms a bunion, also known as Hallux Valgus, the tip of your big toe is pulled or pushed toward the smaller toes and forces the joint at the base to stick out producing the bunion’s “bump”.

Bunions often occur when the joint is stressed over a period of time. It reflects changes in the actual alignment of the bones in the foot. It is more common in women because they often wear shoes with a tight shoe box or high heels, both of which crowd the toes.

Bunionettes, or Tailor’s bunions, are another common bunion which forms on the smallest toe.


There are many theories about how bunions develop, but the exact cause is unknown. Factors likely include:

  • Inherited foot type
  • Foot stress or injuries
  • Deformities present at birth

Aside from the causes mentioned above, experts also consider some risk factors involved in the development of bunions.  These includes:

  • High heels. Wearing high heels forces your toes into the front of your shoes, often crowding your toes.
  • Ill-fitting shoes. People who wear shoes that are too tight, too narrow or too pointed are more likely to develop bunions.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis. Having this inflammatory condition can make you more likely to develop bunions.
  • Heredity. The tendency to develop bunions might be the result of an inherited problem with the structure or anatomy of your foot.


The signs and symptoms of a bunion include:

  • A bulging bump on the outside of the base of your big toe
  • Swelling, redness or soreness around your big toe joint
  • Corns or calluses — these often develop where the first and second toes rub against each other
  • Ongoing pain or pain that comes and goes
  • Limited movement of your big toe

Potential Treatments

To treat bunions, set an appointment with a doctor who specializes in treating foot disorders (podiatrist or orthopedic foot specialist) to be guided accordingly. Your doctor can identify a bunion by examining your foot and through some imaging tests.

He might consider two ways of treatment. These are either a conservative treatment or surgical options. However, surgical options can only be done when conservative treatment doesn’t relieve the symptoms.

Bunion surgery generally involves making an incision in the top or on the side of the big toe joint area and removing or realigning soft tissue and bone. The goals of bunion surgery include:

  • Relieve pain and restore normal alignment to the toe joint.
  • Restore, as much as possible, normal weight-bearing distribution to the foot.
  • Allow you to return to normal activities.

You may have to consider surgery if your bunion results in persistent, severe pain that limits your daily activities, or if you have a severe foot deformity. Contact us and we’ll help you Request an Appointment with an experienced doctor.

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