What is a bunion?

A bunion, also known as a hallux valgus deformity, is a prominent bump on the inside of the big toe (hallux). It is associated with osteoarthritis of the big toe joint. One of the most common risk factors for developing a bunion is a positive family history. Many sufferers will therefore have older relatives who have also experienced this problem.

BunionsMost people with bunions will describe a pain and discomfort over the bony prominence of the big toe. They may also experience pain in the second toe. Symptoms are generally increased by the wearing of tight/restrictive shoes and increased walking or standing.  

There is usually no clear correlation between size of the bunion and symptoms. For example, those with small bunions may have lots of pain whereas people with a large bunion may be relatively pain free.


What can I do myself?

Firstly, if you have a bunion and it is not bothersome or painful you do not need to be concerned, you can just leave it alone.  

If you are having problems there are a number of simple conservative measures which can help including: 

  • Wearing of well fitted shoes 
  • Bunion pads  
  • Toe spacer – this sits between your big and second toe to help to temporarily straighten the toe, which helps decrease irritation. 

In some cases, if over the counter measures have not helped, we can refer patients to podiatry for assessment. However, most NHS provided pads and spacers can be purchased from pharmacy or online 

Injection of the arthritic joint is a possible option to help and manage pain for the short term, however if deformity of the joint has occurred and problems are un-resolving then surgical options are available.