Bunions (Hallux Valgus)


Definition & Function

Definition: Bunions (Hallux Valgus) is the bony enlargement of the first toe joint. Bunions can be associated with a drifting of the big toe toward the other toes of the foot.

Function: The normal function of the big toe joint is to propel your body forward and to assist balance.

Mechanism of Injury

The big toe may become mechanically mal-aligned and fails to function efficiently. Degeneration around the first toe joint may enlarge the joint and cause pain.

Signs & Symptoms

  • Bulging bump on the inside of the big toe joint
  • Swelling and/or redness around the big toe joint
  • Corns or calluses
  • Persistant or intermittent pain at the big toe joint
  • Restricted movement of the joint


  • Short first toe
  • Genetics and family history
  • Narrow or pointy toed shoes
  • Certain sports such as soccer or ballet
  • An over pronated foot (arch and ankle rolling inward) will create excessive pressure at the big toe joint

Pedorthic Treatments

Custom made Orthotics can be an effective method to reduce your bunion pain. They are able to redistribute and load the foot in a different way in order to decrease stress to the affected area. Pedorthists use interventions such as supporting your medial/inside arch, using metatarsal domes and bars to support the metatarsal arch. Proper footwear is also pivotal to your recovery. Shoes with a wide and deep toebox along with no stitching at the bunion will decrease pressure to the first toe joint. Talk to your Pedorthist about proper footwear choices for you.

Other Treatment

  • Toe spacers may be effective in decreasing friction on the next toe
  • In extreme circumstances surgery may be indicated.

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