Bunions – or hallux valgus – are a deformity of the foot caused by an excessive bending (and sometimes crossing over) of the big toe towards the other toes. This causes a bony lump to form on the side of the foot and sometimes, but not always, a sac of fluid known as a bursa can develop which may become inflamed and painful.
Bunions tend to get progressively worse as once the toe starts bending the tendons become stretched and can no longer pull the toe in a straight line. Some people have large bunions which may not cause pain but problems with footwear only and other people may have smaller bunions which cause severe pain.
Bunions are usually genetic but there are some preventative measures which can be taken such as wearing sensible shoes with a wide fit and a low heel.
We can help with advice on the best preventative care in the early stages of bunion development and recognise when it is necessary for a patient to be referred for a surgical opinion.
Orthotics (insoles) can be used to support the arch of the foot and encourage movement of the big toe in the correct direction.
Bunions can lead to other problems such as overloading of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th toe joints, known as metatarsalgia.
In addition to orthotics your podiatrist may recommend certain padding or taping techniques.