Have I got a bunion?

A bunion is a bump associated with ‘extra-bone’ at the base of the great toe. Bunions affect around 25% of the population.

Not all large bumps on the big toe are necessarily bunions. You may also encounter bumps on the top of your great toe such as a ganglion or a bursa.

Ganglia and bursae are frequently found together. They are distinct, despite presenting similarly as visible skin swelling.

How to tell if you have a bunion:

If you place your finger over the bump and notice an indentation, or if your tissues are soft or spongy, you may have a ganglion.

If it is a bony lump under the skin. This may be a bunion (Hallux Valgus to a podiatrist).

Hallux Valgus occurs when the big toe turns outward by more than 15° (see diagram) and it is a common deformity of the foot.  If you have Hallux Valgus, you will develop a bunion, the joint of your big toe may swell and become painful when you wear shoes.  Even prolonged standing can cause more obvious pain that can impair walking.

Is the cause of bunions solely due to footwear?

You may have inherited a bunion or may have developed one from wearing poorly fitting shoes.

If you inherit the condition, your big toe gradually becomes weaker, and your arches fall. Eventually, you will perform the majority of your push-off from the middle of your foot, rather than the big toe and the big toe will begin to bend inward toward the other toes, creating an unsightly bump along the inside edge of your foot. Your foot will become dysfunctional and you may experience pain not only from the bunion itself, but also from the progressive collapse of your arches.

Stepping into great style shoes is not always a good idea if they are not comfortable around the big toe area.

Wearing shoes that are: too small, have a tight or pointed toe or with a very high heel can lead to formation a bunion.

Bunions are:

  • More common in women than in men. Men do get bunions, but their footwear allows them to manage them better.
  • Hereditary, if one of your parents has bunions, it is more likely (not definite) that you will also have the condition.

You should seek professional assistance if you:

  • Suspect you have a bunion and are concerned about its potential severity.
  • Do not like the look of it
    Want to stop it getting like your mother’s
    Cannot wear the shoes you want.

You don’t need to “wait until it hurts”

Please bear in mind that:

  • With age, the first toe may continue to drift.
  • Feet with bunions widen the function of tendons alters and hammer toes often develop.
  • Tight footwear can rub against the bony bump and cause pain or problems such as corns, ulcers, and infections around the joint.

If you want advice on preventing a bunion or reducing it’s symptoms or progression, complete the form below. Our Podiatrists can advise you. We use exercises, orthotics and can help you understand the treatment options available.

    Someone will get back to you within our normal working hours. If urgent simply call 01565 655840