A bunion forms when your big toe points outward toward your second toe. This causes a bump to appear on the inside edge of your toe.
Bunions are more common in women than men. The problem can run in families. People born with abnormal alignment of the bones in their feet are more likely to form a bunion.
Wearing narrow-toed, high-heeled shoes may lead to the development of a bunion.
The condition may become painful as the bump gets worse. Extra bone and a fluid-filled sac can grow at the base of the big toe.
Symptoms may include:
You may have problems finding shoes that fit or shoes that do not cause pain.
A health care provider can very often diagnose a bunion by looking at it. A foot x-ray can show an abnormal angle between the big toe and the foot. In some cases, arthritis may also be seen.
When a bunion first begins to develop, you can do the following to care for your feet.
You can keep a bunion from worsening by taking care of it. Try to wear different shoes when it first starts to develop.
Teenagers may have more trouble treating a bunion than adults. This may be the result of an underlying bone problem.
Surgery reduces the pain in many, but not all people with bunions. After surgery, you may not be able to wear tight or fashionable shoes.
Contact your provider if the bunion:
Avoid compressing the toes of your foot with narrow, poor-fitting shoes.
Greisberg JK, Vosseller JT. Hallux valgus. In: Greisberg JK, Vosseller JT, eds. Core Knowledge in Orthopaedics: Foot and Ankle. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:56-63.
Murphy GA. Disorders of the hallux. In: Azar FM, Beaty JH, eds. Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 14th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 82.
Wexler D, Campbell ME, Grosser DM. Kile TA. Bunion and bunionette. In: Frontera, WR, Silver JK, Rizzo TD Jr, eds. Essentials of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 84.BACK TO TOP
Review Date: 6/8/2022
Reviewed By: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, San Francisco, CA. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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