Bunion is a common term to describe a prominence on the side of the big toe joint with deviation of the big toe towards the second toe. The term bunion describes a complex deformity involving the big toe joint which can sometimes extend to the whole forefoot. Bunion deformities tend to be progressive, meaning that they get gradually worse with age. They sometimes affect only one foot but may be present in both. Bunions can be unsightly and painful but one of the main issues people complain of with bunions is difficulty getting shoes to fit.


  • Pain/swelling over the big joint which can be made worse from pressure from wearing narrow shoes
  • Inflammation and redness of the area
  • Bony bump on the outside of the foot


The most common cause is the genetically determined shape of your foot. If you have an inherited abnormality of the bony structure, this can lead to an abnormal walking pattern, creating excessive or unbalanced force and pressure at the big toe joint developing a bunion over time.

Footwear can have an effect if you have inherited a foot shape that is already predisposed to bunion formation. Occasionally, arthritis, trauma, and neuromuscular conditions trigger the development of a bunion.


The treatments of bunions focus on easing the pain of the bunion and preventing it from getting worst these include:

  • Changes in footwear - Avoid wearing high heels and pointy shoes, perhaps try footwear with a lower heel and wide toe box
  • Bunion padding
  • Orthotics – Your podiatrist can carry out a biomechanical assessment and advise on orthotics (insole) to reduce the pain
  • Night splints
  • If non-surgical treatments fail, then surgery may be an option

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