A bunion (medically referred to as Hallux Abducto Valgus) is a bony bump on the inside border of your foot that is caused by a change to the alignment of your big toe. This occurs when your big toe angles toward your second toe instead of pointing straight, forcing the base joint at the bottom of your big toe to stick out at the side.
As a bunion progresses in severity, the bony deformity becomes more prevalent. Over time you big toe may loose flexibility and functionality, and it could eventually develop osteoarthritis.
These bunions develop gradually overtime, and often won't be painful unless tight shoes are rubbing against it, causing irritation. Other people may experience inflammation and swelling on the joint causing secondary pain and inflammation.
This is the most common form of a bunion, however sometimes a bump can occur on the outside of your foot — this is called a Tailor’s bunion or bunionette.
Bunion's attributing factors are often genetic in nature or caused by excessive overuse loading patterns at the big toe and toe joint over a long period of time. This results in soft tissue and bony adaptations.
Common causes include:
The exact cause of bunions is unknown, however it's thought to be hereditary, usually passed through female lines. Although the bunion itself is not inherited, the foot characteristics that can put you at a higher risk of developing bunions can be.
The physical bump on the side of your foot is the main sign to look for when working out if you have a bunion. Additional signs and symptoms may include:
You can expect similar signs and symptoms for a Tailor's bunion except that the bony lump will appear at the outside of your foot at the base of your little toe. You may experience irritation and pain, and swelling and redness around the affected area, usually from wearing shoes that are too tight, causing them to rub. Corns and calluses may also develop in the area.
Our podiatrists can diagnose a bunion after taking in your history and symptoms in conjunction with a through clinical assessment.
An x-ray may be required to show the severity of the bunion and can help to determine the best form of treatment.
Our podiatrists recommend a range of treatment options that will help your bunions dependent on your personal situation. Usually, the primary goal of the treatment is to reduce your symptoms to enable you to return to your daily activities and reduce or cease the progression of the deformity.
There are both nonsurgical and surgical treatment options, and the action we take will depend upon your personal situation.
Surgical intervention is the only way to "fix" the bunion. However non-surgical conservative bunion treatment options have been proven to be successful and surgery is often used as a "last resort". Due to the prolonged recovery time of usually 8 weeks - 6 months and potential complications such as:
While not all bunions can be prevented, the following activities may help to reduce your risk.