What is a Bunion?

A Bunion, also known as Hallux Valgus, is a common foot condition involving the development of a bony growth below the base of the big toe.

bunion example
A Bunion is recognisable from a bony ‘bump’ below the big toe and protruding from the side of the foot.

Bunion Symptoms and Diagnosis

A Bunion is a progressive condition, meaning that without intervention it will get worse over time. As the Bunion ‘bump’ grows, the deformity can become increasingly painful when walking or running, cause footwear fitting issues and develop redness and swelling from excessive rubbing in footwear. The position of the big toe will also shift over time, often overlapping the lesser toes, which can cause further pain and discomfort. These symptoms can become quite severe, affecting daily activities and having a significant impact on quality of life.

bunion severity examples
Bunions progress over time and can be classed from mild to severe.

Causes of Bunions

There is no exact set of causes for Bunions, although likely causes are:

  • Hereditary factors – if your parents have Bunions it increases the risk of developing them
  • Foot Stress or Injuries
  • Arthritis – particularly rheumatoid arthritis

Some experts believe the tight fitting high-pressure footwear, such as high heels, can cause or speed up the progression of Bunions. Certainly they can exacerbate painful symptoms.

Bunion Treatment and Prevention

There are several non surgical treatments for Bunions, including:

  • Wearing appropriate shoes with enough space in the toe box
  • Using protective cushioning or pads to reduce pain in footwear
  • Using toe spacers or night-splints to maintain space between the big toe and lesser toes
  • Using orthotics to reduce pressure away from the Bunion

The above measures can help treat symptoms and prevent progression of the deformity. However, currently the only way to fully resolve the Bunion is with surgery. Find out more by clicking the below: