What are Bunions?



Bunions (Hallux Valgus) are a common foot deformity, but knowing what to do about them can be a challenge.

Bunions are a bone prominence formed by a misaligned great toe joint. They are typically inherited, either from a parent or grandparent. Most people with bunions develop them later in life. Some people have them on one foot, some on both feet.

Some types of bunions develop from jamming of the great toe joint. This type of bunion is called Hallux Rigidus and produces bony growth at the top of the joint. Hallux Rigidus is often painful both with pressure to the bump and with bending of the joint. Hallux Rigidus is a type of degenerative (wear-and-tear) arthritis. ï»¿

Why do Bunions form?

Most people with bunions develop them later in life. ï»¿Some develop them as children or young adults. When bunions form, they usually do not go away on their own and often become larger over time. There are many possible causes of bunions:

  • Loose joints in the middle of the foot.
  • bunions


    Muscle and tendon imbalance near the great toe joint
  • A combination of the above.
  • Rarely, large bone growth at the side of the big toe joint without any joint misalignment.

Do Bunions Hurt?

Many bunions are painless.  Some bunions are painful.

Pain may be :

  • Only when wearing shoes
  • All the time
  • With bending the joint
  • On the side of the big toe joint
  • Under the joint (Sesamoiditis)
  • Deep inside the joint
  • On top of the joint  ï»¿
  • Sharp and shooting
  • Achy

Image of a toe splint used for bunions

Toe Splint

How Are Bunions Treated?

Non-surgical options include: Surgical options include:
  • Wide shoes
  • Spot-Stretching of shoes
  • Toe separators/splints
  • Foot Orthotics
  • Anti-inflammatory Medicines and Creams
  • Great Toe Joint Realignment (McBride, Austin or Akin Procedures)
  • Great Toe Joint Fusion (Arthrodesis)
  • Midfoot Joint Fusion (Lapidus Procedure)

X-ray of a surgically corrected foot Surgically Corrected Foot

These different procedures require anywhere from 4-12 weeks for healing, and many allow for weight-bearing in a protective brace in as little as a few days.

At Foot and Ankle Center, we take the time to examine your foot and X-rays, and discuss your lifestyle goals before deciding on a treatment course.

What should I do?

Dr Clement typically recommends a trial of non-surgical treatment. Many people respond well to non-surgical treatment for bunions.

If non-surgical treatment fails to alleviate pain, and your symptoms prevent you from enjoying the lifestyle you are accustomed to, surgery may be the right option.

You don't have to live with painful bunions!

For more information on Bunions in the Casa Grande, AZ area call Foot and Ankle Center at (520) 836-2962!