A bunion forms when your big toe points toward the 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 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 grow at the base of the big toe.
Symptoms may include:
You may have problems finding shoes that fit or that do not cause pain.
Exams and Tests
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 of 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.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your provider if the bunion:
Avoid compressing the toes of your foot with narrow, poor-fitting shoes.
Coughlin MJ, Anderson RB. Hallux valgus. In: Coughlin MJ, Saltzman CL, Anderson RB, eds. Mann's Surgery of the Foot and Ankle. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 6.
Murphy GA. Disorders of the hallux. In: Azar FM, Beaty JH, Canale ST, eds. Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 81.
Wexler D, Grosser DM, Kile TA. Bunion and bunionette. In: Frontera WR, Silver JK, Rizzo TD, eds. Essentials of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 84.
Review Date: 3/20/2018
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 Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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