What Is a Bunion (Hallux Valgus)? Bunion Causes & Common Treatments

I always say bunions are like snowflakes. No two are exactly alike. Some bunions are big, some are small. Some are painful and some never hurt.

A bunion, also known as hallux abducto valgus, is a result of the first metatarsal in the foot drifting medially or towards the midline and the big toe drifting in the opposite direction or laterally. What you see is a large "bump" on the side of the big toe joint.

Bunions can create many different types of pain. Patients tell me they have deep pain within the joint itself. This is from the big toe joint working crooked. Pain can also happen from shoe pressure alone. Normal shoes are not made with extra room for a large bunion bump. Bunions can also cause pain in other parts of the foot. When the big toe joint doesn't work correctly you will compensate with the end result of adding too much work load to the lesser metatarsal area or the 2nd through 5th metatarsals. This can result in a metatarsal stress fracture, an enlarged nerve in the foot called a neuroma or even hammertoes.

Non-surgical treatment for bunions includes arch supports or orthotics, anti-inflammatory medication, toe splints and most importantly supportive shoes with the key word being "supportive". Also make sure your shoes have adequate room in the toe box. Extra-depth or extra wide. If non-surgical treatment is unable to resolve your bunion pain you may be a candidate for surgical correction. Just like that there are many different types of bunions there are also many different types of bunionectomies. Most bunion surgeries involve angular correction of the first metatarsal by cutting through the bone also known as an osteotomy. Most bunion surgeries require 6 weeks of post-operative management.

Please visit your local podiatrist to discuss options to treat your bunion.

Written by
Dr. Jeffrey S. Hurless
DPM, FACFAS Board Certified Foot & Ankle Surgeon/Podiatrist
Medical Director, HealthyFeetStore.com

Shop Bunions Women Shop Bunions Men
Back to blog