A bunion, commonly caused by a condition called ‘hallux abducto valgus’, is a deformity of the big toe in which the big toe excessively angles towards the second toe and leads to a bony lump on the side of the foot. This can also form a large sac of fluid, known as a bursa, which can then become inflamed and sore.
They are most often caused by a defective mechanical structure of the foot, which may be genetic, and certain foot types make a person prone to development of a bunion. Poorly fitting footwear tends to aggravate the problem as tight or narrow footwear can squeeze the forefoot, crowding the toes together and exacerbate the underlying condition, causing pain and deformity of the joint.
Bunions can also be caused by the big toe pushing over on to the second, causing crossover of the toes, which makes it difficult to walk due to pressure on the toes from footwear. Once the big toe leans toward the second toe, the tendons no longer pull the toe in a straight line, so the problem tends to get progressively worse. This condition can also lead to corns and calluses developing.
Bunions can also be caused by age, arthritis or playing sport.
Our podiatrists may recommend a range of conservative measures to help help relieve painful symptoms:
- Orthoses (special devices inserted into shoes)
- Shoe alterations or night splints which hold toes straight during sleep (helps to slow the progression of bunions in children)