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Definition

A bunion is a painful lump at the base of the big toe. Over time, it causes the tip of the big toe to turn toward the other toes. It may also overlap the second or third toe.

Bunion

Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes

The exact cause is not known. Genes may play a role.

Risk Factors

Bunions are more common in women and older adults. They are also more common in people who have family members with bunions. Other things that may raise your risk are:

  • Personal or family history of foot deformities
  • Flat feet that put too much weight on the big toe joint
  • Inflammatory joint problems, such as psoriatic arthritis and gout

Symptoms

Bunions may cause:

  • Pain in the big toe and second toe
  • Problems moving the big toe
  • Redness and swelling
  • A firm lump on the inside edge of the foot at the base of the big toe

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A foot exam will be done. It is diagnosed based on this information.

Treatment

The doctor will talk about treatment choices. They may be:

Supportive Care

It is important to ease pressure on the bunion. This may be done with:

  • Padding
  • Shoes that are wide and deep
  • Shoe inserts

Medicine

Prescription or over-the-counter medicines may be given to ease pain.

Surgery

Surgery may be done if other treatments have not helped. It can remove the bony lump. The joint may also be realigned.

Prevention

There are no methods to lower the risk of getting a bunion.

RESOURCES:

American Podiatric Medical Association
http://www.apma.org

OrthoInfo—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
http://orthoinfo.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Ontario Podiatric Medical Association
http://www.opma.ca

Health Canada
https://www.canada.ca

REFERENCES:

Bunions. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00155. Updated February 2016. Accessed March 25, 2020.

Bunion surgery. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00140. Updated February 2016. Accessed March 25, 2020.

Easley ME, Trnka HJ. Current concepts review: hallux valgus part II: operative treatment. Foot Ankle Int. 2007 Jun;28(6):748-758.

Hallux valgus and bunion. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/condition/hallux-valgus-and-bunion. Updated November 22, 2017. Accessed March 25, 2020.

Last reviewed February 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Teresa Briedwell, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS  Last Updated: 3/25/2020