What Is A Bunion?


What is a bunion?

A bunion is a painful swelling of the soft tissue, and bone enlargement over the inside of the ball of the big toe. Often the big toe will look as if it is bent in towards the other toes or even can lie across them.

Bunion Formation Angle
Bunion Formation Angle



Bunion X-ray
Bunion X-ray

Bunion Symptoms:

A bunion usually results in irritated skin around the bunion, pain when walking, joint redness and pain, and possible shift of the big toe toward the other toes. Corns, calluses and blisters are also very likely to form over time to create addition pain.

It is also very common for a bunion to eventually lead to the formation of a hammertoe to the second and eventually the third toe as well.

As the bunion and the other toes further deform, this can lead to difficulties finding properly fitted footwear and may force a person to buy a larger size shoe to accommodate the width the bunion creates. If the bunion deformity becomes severe enough, the foot can hurt in different places even without the constriction of shoes.

Bunion pain
Bunion pain


Symptoms Include:

  • Pain in and around the ball of the big toe. This can be from the bone rubbing too much on the shoes.
  • You may be unable to wear certain types of shoes.
  • The big toe appears to be bent inwards.
  • This is more due to the 1st metatarsal migrating outwards as shown in the image opposite.
  • Other causes of 1st MTPJ joint pain can include turf toe and gout.


What Causes Bunions?

What causes a bunion?
Although this is difficult to prove, tight shoe gear has shown that those genetically susceptible to bunion formation are more likely to form a bunion.
  • Biomechanical factors can contributeto the development of bunions for example if you pronate excessively.
  • Wearing high heeled shoes regularly increases the risk of developing bunions.
  • Age increases the likelihood of developing bunions as the ligaments loose strength with age.
  • Although some experts are convinced that poor-fitting footwear is the main cause of bunion formation, some studies do show that footwear only exacerbates the problem caused by the original genetic structure.
  • Some people are much more likely to develop bunions than other people based on what their parents feet looked like!


Bunion Home Treatment:

Can you reverse a bunion without surgery?

  • Separate the big toe and the next one with a 1 cm thick piece of foam, or try a bunion splint
  • Shield the bunions by cutting a hole for it in a piece of padding.
  • See a sports injury specialist or podiatrist and have orthotic devices made.


Can bunions be reversed without surgery?
Can bunions be reversed without surgery? As good as these pads feel, but at the same time there is no evidence that any of these splints are able to reverse damage after many years of deformity.


What can a specialist do?

  • They can make orthotic devices for your feet and in bad cases can refer you for an operation on the bunions.
  • Bunion surgery to realign the joint is a last resort.
Bunion Corrective Surgery
Bunion Corrective Surgery has changed significantly over the past few years. It is no longer the risky procedure that makes you stay off of your feet for numerous months. These are now a very well studied procedure with excellent outcomes with the correct procedure selection.

Bunion Orthotic Treatment:

  • In our experience, approximately 50-75% of people with bunions feel good enough with orthotics and bracing that they never do require surgery.
  • The only downside of this is that the bunion is not fixed structurally.
  • This does prevent the bunion from getting worse going into the future.


Orthotic Scan
Orthotic production has progressed tremendously in the internet age. Scanning, turnaround time and modifications are quicker and more efficient than ever.
Orthotic Scan Imaging
Scanning & gait assessment technology can now lead to better ability to alter and modify orthotics that are more corrective than ever.


Scientific Evidence of Orthotics:

  • Orthotics are now very proven devices.
  • There are hundreds of high level studies showing the clear effect of these outcomes.
  • Orthotics are now condition specific and not just cookie cutter molds that you can buy at the store.
  • There are many different modifications and adjustments throughout the process that need to be made.
  • The most important part is making sure they fit and function for you.
  • Think of orthotics as optical glasses, they need extensive evaluation to make the first place for sure. But once they are made you will not be able to go back to the pain you have had in the past.
Bunion orthotics
We first start with an orthotic shell, then we progress with modifications and a top coat for bunion orthotics.


Bunion orthotics
A top coat is then applied with extensive bunion modifications.

 Bunion Surgery:

Bunion surgery
Bunion surgery does have good outcomes with minimal downtime. Techniques, scientific evidence and technology has improved tremendously.
Bunion surgery
In many cases people can be back on their feet after correcting a severe bunion in days!




Most Likely:

  1. Bunion
  2. Gout
  3. Hallux limitus
  4. Hallux rigidus
  5. Pseudogout
  6. Sesamoiditis
  7. Turf toe
  8. Broken Toe
  9. Swollen Toe
  10. Abductor Hallucis Strain
  11. Dislocated Toe
  12. Hallux Varus
  13. Flexor Hallucis Tendinitis
  14. Foot Arthritis