Bunion ( hallux abducto valgus )

Bunions are one of the most common conditions we treat everyday. Even though bunions are a common foot deformity, there are misconceptions about them. Many people may unnecessarily suffer the pain of bunions for years before seeking treatment.

A bunion (also referred to as hallux valgus) is often described as a bump on the side of the big toe. But a bunion is more than that. The visible bump actually reflects changes in the bony framework of the front part of the foot. The big toe leans toward the second toe, rather than pointing straight ahead. This throws the bones out of alignment—producing the bunion’s bump.


Bunions are a progressive disorder. They begin with a leaning of the big toe, gradually changing the angle of the bones over the years and slowly producing the characteristic bump, which becomes increasingly prominent. Symptoms usually appear at later stages, although some people never have symptoms.


Bunions are most often caused by an inherited faulty mechanical structure of the foot. It is not the bunion itself that is inherited but certain foot types that make a person prone to developing a bunion. This is were genetics plays a major factor. Although wearing shoes that crowd the toes will not actually cause bunions, it sometimes makes the deformity get progressively worse. Symptoms may therefore appear sooner.


Symptoms, which occur at the site of the bunion, may include:

Pain or soreness, Inflammation and redness, A burning sensation, Possible numbness

Bunions are readily apparent—the prominence is visible at the base of the big toe or side of the foot. However, to fully evaluate the condition, the foot and ankle surgeon may take x-rays to determine the degree of the deformity and assess the changes that have occurred.